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Golf: Patipaksiri boosts Anteaters

March 26, 2012|By Bryce Alderton
  • Lalita Patipaksiri is a veteran presence for the UC Irvine women's golf team.
Lalita Patipaksiri is a veteran presence for the UC Irvine… (Courtesy of UC Irvine,…)

UC Irvine senior Lalita Patipaksiri has quite a full plate.

She works two jobs, is taking 24 units and is the only senior on a UCI team fresh off a fifth-place finish in the Juli Inkster Invitational in San Jose, where Patipaksiri had her best tournament of the spring season. She finished third overall, at even par, two shots behind champion Joanne Lee of Cal.

Patipaksiri and teammates were blasting balls into a net inside Crawford Hall on Sunday in preparation for the Anteater Invitational Monday and Tuesday at Dove Canyon Country Club.

She took a few minutes to talk about the Juli Inkster Invitational, reflect on her college career and describe how she got into golf.

She started ice skating at a young age, but when she was 9 she switched to golf to make it easier for her parents, who had to drive her to the ice rink and her older brother Andrew to the golf course.

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"I switched [sports] so my parents didn't have to drive both places," Patipaksiri said. Andrew played golf at UC Riverside and Lalita said he plays professionally on smaller tours.

"I'm happy with golf because it's more long-term," Patipaksiri said.

She starred at Cypress High, helping the Centurions go 15-0 in 2005, according to the Orange County Register. She was medalist in every match that year. In 2007 she was part of the Southern California team that won the 30th Girls' Junior America's Cup at Waverley Country Club in Portland, Ore.

Patipaksiri has been a consistent performer for UCI. She played all 31 rounds as a freshman and earned second-team All-Big West Conference honors her sophomore and junior years. As a junior, Patipaksiri finished fourth in the conference tournament and ended the year with four top-10 finishes.

She has been pleased with her Anteater career.

"At the end of every season [coach Julie Brooks] gives an individual meeting to assess our progress," Patipaksiri explained. "One of the things is lower scoring average and I've done that every year." Patipaksiri led the Anteaters with a 75.36 stroke average in 11 rounds last fall.

Patipaksiri finished the Juli Inkster Invitational at even par (73-71-72 — 216), playing the Almaden Golf & Country Club for the fourth straight season. UCI placed fifth among 12 teams.

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