Kate Villegas, of Arcadia, holds the California Women's Amateur trophy after beating Palo Alto's Lauren Sung in the final at La Cumbre Country Club. Villegas is a member of the UCLA golf team. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

UCLA Athletics will become part of the Big Ten Conference in the fall of 2024.

The Bruins and the University of Michigan engaged in an early matchup on the golf course Saturday in the championship of the California Women’s Amateur at La Cumbre Country Club.

Kate Villegas has won back-to-back match-play tournaments.

Chalk up a “W” for UCLA, as Kate Villegas defeated the Wolverines’ Lauren Sung, 4 and 3, to claim her first state title and second tournament crown of the month.

Villegas, who transferred to UCLA after back-to-back All-Big West seasons at UC Riverside, was coming off her second straight Southern California Golf Association Match Play Championship. Her match-play record is 17-1 in SCGA and USGA events dating back to 2022.

“My game has really come a long way and I’m just really confident right now,” said Villegas, who hails from Arcadia. “I feel like I’m pretty tough to beat because I limit my mistakes.”

Villegas started well, opening a two-hole lead with pars on three, four and five.

Sung got one back with a birdie on No. 8.

But Villegas reclaimed her two-hole advantage by parring the par-5 No. 9. 

“The putts weren’t dropping today, unfortunately,” said Sung, a Palo Alto resident, who entered the tournament after winning the Pacific Northwest Amateur earlier in the month “I got a little nervous over a couple of those early on and couldn’t really give up anything. 

“Kate played great. It was a battle, for sure, and I’m still proud of how I got here.”

Lauren Sung, left, stands with her twin sister and caddie, Sydney, after finishing as the State Women’s Amateur runner-up. The sisters from Palo Alto play golf at the University of Michigan. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

Sung needed 20 holes to win in the Round of 32 and knocked out the No. 1 seed in the next round.

But on Saturday she couldn’t match the consistent play of Villegas, who was eliminated in the Round of 32 in last year’s tournament.

“I knew coming in that she’s a great player,” said Villegas of Sung. “I just tried to stick to my game plan, which was stay aggressive but trust my lines and just believe in myself.

“I knew she was a little bit of a longer hitter but I really didn’t let that affect me. I still laid up. I just really dialed in with my wedges and my numbers because I knew pars and birdies were good.”

Villegas held her two-hole advantage from No. 10 to 13 before clinching the victory with pars at 14 and 15.

“It means everything,” she said of being a state champion. “I honestly can’t believe I’m here. It’s been a long week but I’m so grateful to come out on top.”

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.