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April 18, 2017
PALM COAST, Fla. ( - For the UCF women's golf team and senior Ashley Holder the numbers 7 and 13 were lucky Tuesday. The Knights posted seven back-nine birdies and Holder took advantage of a huge momentum swing on the 13th hole en route to come-from-behind American Athletic Conference team and individual championships.

The Knights, who also won the 2015 AAC title, entered Tuesday's final round trailing Houston by one stroke. The Cougars quickly increased their advantage to four strokes at one point on the front nine. But the Knights warmed up after the turn.

UCF put together seven birdies on the back nine, while Houston faded with seven bogeys. SMU made a late charge and pulled within three strokes by the end of the tournament to pass the Cougars for runner-up honors. But the Knights' poise down the stretch led to the conference championship.

"Conference championships are special," UCF head coach Emily Marron said. "It just takes a lot of guts to win a conference championship and that's what our girls did today. They just pulled it out."
Three of UCF's seven back-nine birdies were from Holder. None was bigger than when she rolled in a birdie putt on the 13th hole. Prior to the hole, she was trailing Houston's Leonie Harm by one stroke for the individual lead. While Holder carded a 3 on the Par 4 hole, Harm's bogey 5 suddenly put Holder in the lead. Two holes later, Holder birdied the Par 4 15th hole to increase her lead. SMU's Brigitte Dunne put on some late pressure, tallying birdies on 16 and 17. Dunne had a birdie putt on No. 18 that could have sent the individual title decision to a playoff, but couldn't convert.

Holder calmly rolled in her par putt on the 18th hole to win a conference title that has eluded her the past three years. Holder carded top-three finishes at all four American Athletic Conference Championships in her career, but had never won it until Tuesday.

"Today was one of the best days of my life," Holder said. "I've been working very hard to get my game to where it's at right now. It's very special. Coming into today, I knew I had to shoot under to win. So I just came out here focusing on what I focus on every single day before a round and just give it my all like I do every single round."

Marron was thrilled for her senior.

"How special is that? Shoot, the girl's come so close," Marron said. "I couldn't be happier for. She's had a couple of close calls here at the conference championship and I just think it was guts, determination, will in those last couple holes. I'm so happy for her."

UCF ended up 4-under par for the tournament (284-289-287-860), while SMU was -1 (290-290-283-863). Holder finished 7-under (69-71-69-209), while SMU's Dunne was 6-under (68-73-69-210). Harm finished third at -4 (66-70-76-212).

The Knights had three Top 10 finishers. Maria Balcazar (71-70-72-213 -3) finished in a tie for fourth. Kaeli Jones (70-74-72-216 E) finished seventh. Ayaka Nakayama finished in a tie for 21st place. Johanna Larsson rounded out the Knights' lineup, placing in a tie for 29th.

The Knights will now await word on where they will compete in the NCAA Regional round, which is slated for May 8-10.