Kaleiya Romero

Waves sophomore Kaleiya Romero wins first collegiate tournament

Pepperdine Waves women’s golfer Kaleiya Romero teed off her sophomore season with a win last week. 

The golfer won the season-opening Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational in Albuquerque, NM, on Sept. 14. The trophy-snagging triumph was Romero’s first tournament victory of her college career.

Romero, according to a news statement, said she hadn’t had the best six months, golf-wise, but has continuously worked on her game.  

“I’ve been working with the coaches and getting my driver dialed in,” she said in the statement. “It all came together this week. It’s great. I went through a tough stretch recently, and this gives me so much confidence for our upcoming tournaments. My game is back where I want it to be and I hope I can keep winning.” 

Romero, who finished third in the invitational last season, defeated Lila Galeai of BYU in a playoff to grab the top finish. 

A birdie won it for Romero, but it was close. Galeai chipped the ball within 20 feet right before Romero, working from the rough, chipped it within a foot of the hole. 

“She missed her putt and I made it,” Romero recalled. 

Romero, an All-West Coast Conference first teamer as a freshman, finished the invitational with a 10-under 206 (70-67-69). She had a tournament-best 17 birdies including six in the final round. Romero’s score tied the fourth-best tournament score in Waves history and is the best finish by a Pepperdine golfer since 2014.

Pepperdine finished the 16-team tournament in fifth place. The Waves shot a total 874 (298-289-287). The squad rose from 12th place to eighth and finally to fifth over the three rounds of the two-day tournament. 

BYU won the tournament. San Jose State finished second, New Mexico finished third and San Diego State finished ahead of Pepperdine. 

Waves freshman Lauren Gomez tied for 16th at 218 (73-74-71). Her 1-under on the second day of the invitational included three birdies. 

Sophomore Lion Higo tied for 48th at 225 (78-74-73) and tallied three birdies in the last round. Reese Guzman, a junior, tied for 53rd at 226 (77-74-75) and had two birdies on the final day. Megan Dennis, a graduate student, tied for 59th at 227 (78-75-74) with two birdies on the last day. Freshman Milla Sagel played as an individual and finished 91st at 244 (83-79-82) 

Pepperdine began played in the three-day Badger Invitational in Wisconsin on Sept. 19. 

Romero and Higo finished the first day tied in 20th place. Gomez was tied for 25th, as was Dennis. Sagle was in 55th place. 

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