SFU’s Rampuri Impresses with T7 Finish at NCAA Division II National Championship

Jaya Rampuri

By BRAD ZIEMER, British Columbia Golf

Jaya Rampuri finished off her NCAA Division II National Championship tourney in style, rolling in a 10-foot downhill putt for birdie on the 18th green.

It was a fitting conclusion for the Simon Fraser University junior, who did herself and her school proud with a tie for seventh place. Rampuri and teammate Kylie Jack were the first SFU women to ever compete in the National Championship tourney. Both received invitations to nationals after strong performances at the West Regional tournament.

Rampuri closed with her best round of the 54-hole event, a one-over par 74 Thursday on a tough PGA National layout in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. “It was nice to finish with that birdie on 18,” Rampuri said.

“I hit a solid drive. My next shot didn’t go as planned but the third one I got really dialed in and I stuck it to about 10 feet and rolled in the downhiller. It was a pretty good birdie and it was awesome to finish that way.”

Rampuri, a communications major who hails from Coquitlam, finished the tournament at seven-over par. That was seven shots behind winner Jaime Jacob of Cal State San Marcos. Rampuri impressed SFU coach Matt Steinbach, who walked every step of the way with her in Thursday’s final round.

“It was special,” Steinbach said. “PGA National is a challenging course and they had it set up really tough. They had pins in tough locations and the women were playing in about a two-club wind the whole time. Jaya just hit the ball as good as I have ever seen her hit it. She didn’t look uncomfortable. It was like she had been there before, she belonged out there, so it was really impressive. A T7 is a good result, but the way she played, she honestly could have been a lot better.”

Rampuri called PGA National the most challenging course she has played. “Personally I found it to be the most difficult, especially with fast greens,” she said. “Today they were really firm. It was pretty challenging, definitely a very strategic course. You needed to take smart lines and selecting the right club off the tee was very important.”

Rampuri’s finish caps off a solid season for the SFU women’s program, which was brought back to life only a few years ago. The SFU women finished sixth against a tough field at the West Regional tourney and narrowly missed going to nationals as a team. “We finished sixth at Regionals, but we were part of the conversation and had a chance heading to the back nine,” Steinbach said.

“I just think the depth on our team has gotten better. Before, we used to rely on maybe one or two players in any given week. Now we could have our (No.) three or four player pitch in and be the low person on the team. I like to think of us as a regional contender at Division II and we are not far away from being a top 25 team in all of Division II.”

Rampuri said her top 10 at nationals will boost her confidence and serve as motivation as she prepares for her senior year at SFU. “I definitely think my confidence has gone up, especially going into next season,” she said. “I am super excited. I am going to be training a ton this summer and hopefully keep getting better and better.”

Jack, a fifth-year senior from Kelowna playing her final event for SFU, finished in a tie for 57th place.

Click here for final results.