Spartanburg, S.C. - Leading entering Tuesday's final round, Western Carolina sophomore Natalia Villavicencio fired a 4-over par, 76, to win the 2016 Terrier Intercollegiate, hosted by Wofford College at the par-72, 6,012-yard Country Club of Spartanburg. WCU finished with two golfers inside the individual top 10 for a season-best, runner-up showing in the 10-team field.
Western Carolina held at least a share of the lead for most of the two-day event, sitting atop the leaderboard coming down the stretch on Tuesday. However, hard-charging Winthrop -- which carded the best final round team score of 300 -- rallied from fifth place to edge WCU by a stroke for the team championship, 609-to-610.
The victory for Villavicencio is her first in 11 career events -- and the first for a Catamount women's golfer at a full-field event since 2014 (former WCU golfer Maddi Caldwell won medalist honors last season at the one-round, three-team match). The team finish was the program's best since winning the 2014 Great Smokies Intercollegiate.
Opening on the front nine, Villavicencio countered a pair of bogies with a birdie on the par-4 ninth to make the turn at 1-over par. Two bogies between the first three holes of the back nine left her 3-over for the round before a second birdie on the par-3 14th had her 2-over with four holes to play. The Santiago, Chile, native posted a pair of pars and two bogies to finish the round 3-over on the back and 4-over for the day at 76 for a two-day total of 146 (70-76).
Villavicencio, who led the tournament with eight combined birdies, edged first-round runner-up Iben Hvass of Georgia Southern by a stroke, 146-to-147, after carrying a two-stroke advantage into Tuesday's final round after a career-low round of 2-under par 70 on Monday.
WCU senior Ashley Thompson also came home with a career-best finish, sliding six spots in the final standings to post her first career top 10. The Clyde, N.C., native finished amongst a seven-way tie for 10th overall at 154, shooting 80 on Tuesday. Junior teammate Alyssa Morahan jumped up four spots on the final day of competition with a second-round score of 6-over, 78, for a total of 155, tied for 17th.
Rounding out WCU's scoring five was senior Bethany Galloway in a six-way tie for 21st with a 36-hole score of 156, and junior transfer Amanda Floberg in a tie for 27th a stroke in arrears at 157. Floberg finished with four birdies over the 36-hole tournament.
Playing in her first intercollegiate tournament unattached as an individual, true freshman Brianna Plummer finished 61st overall with a two-day score of 179.
Behind both Winthrop and WCU, Appalachian State finished in third-place, two-strokes off the pace at 611, with Georgia Southern (613) and event host, Wofford (616) rounding out the top five. Gardner-Webb (618) finished sixth followed by Presbyterian (622), USC Upstate (635), Converse College (647) and UNC Asheville (653) in 10th-place.
Collectively as a team, WCU led the tournament in both par-3 scoring (+4, 3.10) and with a combined 20 birdies.
Up next for the Catamounts is their home tournament, the Bill Berg Invitational. WCU women's golf will host an event after a one-year hiatus with the first installment of the event, hosted at The Ridges Country Club in Hayesville, N.C., Oct. 15-18, 2016. The Catamount women are slated to entertain a total of 12 teams in the 54-hole tournament that will be spread over four days including Saturday's practice rounds. The event's namesake, Bill Berg, is the golf professional at The Ridges.