Aurora Kan, a three-time Daily Times Player of the Year and the 2010 PIAA champion while at Chichester, got the spring portion of her junior season at Purdue off to a good start this week.
The Boilermakers left our endless winter behind and hosted the annual Lady Puerto Rico Classic at the Rio Mar Country Club’s River Course in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.
Kan fired her career-best round at Purdue, a 4-under 68 over the 5,826-yard, par-72 River Course layout, in the second round of the 54-hole event to take a two-shot in the individual chase into the final round. Alabama’s Stephanie Meadow, the No. 2 ranked individual in NCAA Division I by GolfWeek, caught and passed Kan as Meadow’s second straight 68 left her at 4-under 211.
But Kan fought back and a birdie at the final hole enabled her to share medalist honors with Meadow. That putt gave Kan a final-round of even-par 72 as she matched Meadow’s 211 total. Kan opened the tournament with a 1-under 71 on her way to a career-best 54-hole total.
It was the second career victory for Kan, who captured the Butler Fall Invitational last fall, but that was a 36-hole event and the Lady Puerto Rico had a field that included six of the top-25 teams in the country. Kan’s victory also earned her a co-Big Ten Player of the Week honor.
Kan also helped the Boilermakers finish in a tie for sixth in the team standings at 893. Purdue got off to a rough start with an opening-round 306, but led by Kan’s career-best 68 in the second round, the Boilermakers improved 15 shots to 291. A final-round 296 left Purdue tied with Alabama and N.C. State for sixth.
Arkansas, led by Gaby Lopez (73-8-73—214), who finished third, and Emma Lavy (73-68-75—216), who finished tied for fourth, won the team title with rounds of 288, 283 and 296 for an 867 total. That was 14 shots clear of runnerup Georgia Regents University Augusta.
Kan is the leader of a young group of Boilermakers, but they certainly showed some potential in Puerto Rico. Freshman August Kim fired a final round of 1-over 73, a career best, to finish in a tie for 34th at 227. She was joined at that figure by Anna Appert Lund, a sophomore transfer from Morehead State. Lund, a Swede, also saved her best round for last, a 3-over 75 in the final round.
Junior Johanna Tillstrom, another Swede, finished in a tie for 59th at 233, two shots ahead of sophomore Brooke Beegle, who was in a tie for 63rd at 235. Beegle bounced back from an opening-round 86 with solid rounds of 73 and 76. And Ashley Yarbrough, a freshman transfer from Coastal Carolina, competed as an individual and started off with rounds of 74 and 73 before faltering a little in the final round with an 83. Still, her 230 total left her in a tie for 46th.