BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Former Newberry College All-American, NCAA Division II runner-up and CoSIDA Academic All-American Maria Luz Besio won the 108th Argentine Amateur Championship at the Martindale Country Club late last month, earning the highest championship honor available in her home country.
Besio, the premier women’s golfer in Newberry College and South Atlantic Conference history, qualified for match play in the event as the 10th seed and won four matches to claim her country’s championship.
She defeated the seventh seed 1-up in the round of 16, cruised to a 6-4 win over the second seed in the quarterfinals and advanced to the championship match with a 1-up win over the third seed in the semifinals.
The championship match was a 36-hole match against fifth-seeded Sofia Goicoechea Ruiz. The match was all-square after nine holes before Besio won holes 12 through 15 to take a 3-up lead after 18 holes. Ruiz closed the gap to Besio being only 1-up after 27 holes, but the Newberry graduate won three of the final seven holes played and clinched a 3 and 2 championship win with a par on the 34th hole of the competition.
“I cannot believe I won, honestly, I think tomorrow this win will sink in,” said Besio. “I was convinced by the captain of my club Lautaro Fiorini to play and when I passed the initial round beating Maria Olivero, I started thinking I could get there.”
Olivero, Besio’s first round opponent, had previously won this championship nine times.
“It is the first championship I won in my country and that is very special,” said Besio, who accepted her championship trophy while wearing the scarlet and gray of Newberry College.
With her championship win, Besio qualifies to play in the 13th Argentine Women’s Open on December 12-14. She is also now the top-ranked amateur in Argentina and has the opportunity to qualify for multiple international championship teams.
Besio was named a first team All-American by the NGCA in May 2012 and is Newberry’s only student-athlete to be named an All-American by their coaches’ association and an Academic All-American.
The 2012 and 2009 South Atlantic Conference Golfer of the Year won the SAC title in 2012 and 2010 and was the 2010 NCAA Division II national runner-up.
Besio set the school and South Atlantic Conference records for career scoring average at 76.73 - which bested the previous league record by over a full stroke - as well as the single season stroke average at 75.14, which is only the second season in the league’s history under 76. She was the first women’s golfer in Newberry history to earn all-SAC honors in all four seasons and just the second player in the league’s history.
She graduated summa cum laude in May 2012 with her bachelor of science degree in business administration with a minor in accounting. She was the winner of Newberry’s W.L. Laval Award and is a member of the Bachman Honor Society. She was a three-time NGCA All-American Scholar.