Sara Ovadia Santa Ynez Golf Coach Joins Columbia Athletic Hall of Fame


Sara Ovadia Santa Ynez Golf Coach Joins Columbia Athletic Hall of Fame

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Santa Ynez High School’s golf coach, Sara Ovadia, recently earned a prestigious place in the Columbia University Athletic Hall of Fame. She was honored alongside her 2006-07 Columbia women’s golf team. Notably, Ovadia is the first female golfer to achieve this recognition at the university.

During her sophomore year, Ovadia achieved a significant milestone, becoming the first Columbia golfer to win an individual Ivy League championship. She secured the league title with an impressive 10-over-par 226 during the championship event. This victory contributed to Columbia’s league title win in just their fourth varsity season. Ovadia’s victory, with teammate Stevy Loy finishing second, marked a triumphant upset over Princeton and Yale, who had claimed the previous nine titles.

The team’s performance was exceptional, with a total score of 933 over the three-day tournament, claiming three of the top five individual positions. Ovadia and Loy secured the top two spots, while Columbia’s Carly Nathanson finished fifth.

Following their success, Columbia made its inaugural appearance in the NCAA Tournament three weeks later, competing in the NCAA West Regional. Ovadia’s remarkable college career extended to her four years on the LPGA tour.

At graduation in 2009, Ovadia held the record for the lowest scoring average in program history (78.00) and remains fourth on the Columbia all-time list. She graduated with a double major in philosophy and history.

Now a respected coach for Santa Ynez’s girls and boys golf teams, Ovadia led the boys to victory in the 2023 CIF Central Section Division 2 championship. The girls’ team secured a fifth-place finish at the Mountain League finals and qualified for the Division 2 tournament with a team score of 492.

During her time at Columbia, Ovadia was an Ivy League champion, a first-team All-Ivy League member, a three-year captain of the Lions women’s golf team, and the first Columbia women’s golfer to participate in an LPGA event. Her leadership led the Lions to their inaugural Ivy League championship in 2007.

Ovadia, a Santa Barbara native and Dos Pueblos High School alumna, was inducted into the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Hall of Fame in 2019. Her high school career was illustrious, marked by four CIF Southern Section Northern Division titles and two CIF Southern Section championships. As a competitor on the American Junior Golf Association Tour, she earned two fifth-place finishes.

Sara Ovadia remains active in golf, competing in SCPGA club professional tournaments. She recently qualified for the SCPGA Safeway Classic in Portland, Oregon, and has claimed titles such as SCPGA Women’s Matchplay Champion in 2017 and 2018, as well as the 2018 Women’s Team champion and Associate Player of the Year.

Beyond golf, Ovadia serves as an assistant coach for the Santa Ynez girls’ basketball team and works as a club professional at La Purisima Golf Course in Lompoc.


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