Late Surge Puts Arizona Atop NCAA Women's Golf Championships For Third Straight Day
May 23, 2002
Auburn, WA ï¿½ After playing the first 14 holes 13-over par to fall to thirdoverall, seventh-ranked Arizona totaled six birdies and an eagle in thefinal four holes to finish at 10-over through three rounds of the NCAADivision I Women's Golf Championships at Washington National Golf Club. TheWildcats are two strokes ahead of surging Texas, who scored under par forthe second-consecutive day, and three ahead of second-ranked Duke.
'I preach and I preach until I am blue in the face about finishing strong,'said Arizona coach Greg Allen. 'They actually listened today. I'm actuallymore proud of the team today than I was after the round on Tuesday. Theyshowed so much heart out there, the way the hung in there and kept battling.I know how frustrated they were getting by not making putts.'
Friday's final pairing will include two of the top three individuals on theleaderboard, including leader Virada Nirapathpongporn of Duke, who cardedher third-consecutive round under par to finish 2-under for the day, and9-under overall. The Duke sophomore will be joined for the second day by2001 NCAA Player of the Year Lorena Ochoa of Arizona, who sits third at5-under, one stroke behind Georgia's Summer Sirmons.
'It's always been my plan to keep everything in perspective,' saidNirapathpongporn following her round. 'That's my theme for tomorrow. Coach[Dan Brooks] keeps telling us it doesn't matter when we walk away tomorrowwhether we win or lose. If we play like we are capable of playing, that'sall we want to do. We are who we are.'
Top-ranked Auburn climbed back into contention Friday with a round of3-under 285 that equaled the best by any team over the tournament's threedays. The Tigers stand fourth overall at 19-over, while Florida anddefending national-champion Georgia round out the top-five at 20-over.
The low round of the day was posted by Washington junior Louise Friberg, whotied the women's competitive round course record at Washington National witha 5-under 67. A native of Helsingborg, Sweden, Friberg notched atournament-best seven birdies in posting the lowest score of her collegiatecareer, bettering the 69 she shot earlier this season at the SpartanInvitational at Corral De Tierra Country Club in Salinas, Calif.
Friberg's score tied as the third-lowest round ever recorded by a Husky.Dodie Mazzuca set the school record in 1997 with a 65. Friberg's teammate,Kelli Kamimura, shot 66 last season and a 67 in 1998.
'I had absolutely no idea,' Friberg said regarding the record-tying round.'My mom told me when I walked up. It feels pretty good. I'm just happy toshoot 67, whether it was the course record or not, because I can't reallycontrol the course record.'
Teeing off at 9 a.m. on the back nine, Friberg made par on the first sevenholes during her round. She then birdied holes No. 17 and 18. After makingthe turn, she birdied holes No. 1, 3 and 4 to move to 5-under.
Friberg sank a 10-foot putt on No. 7 to move back to five-under. She thenbogeyed No. 8 after leaving her tee shot short and right on the par-3,204-yard hole. Friberg finished her round with a birdie on No. 9.
'I've had some trouble with my putting before, but I've been hitting theball really good,' Friberg said. 'Yesterday after my round, my teacher, JoeThiel, said, OeYour first mistake is that you're trying to make the putts,rather than picking a spot and rolling over it.' He said, OeAll you can do isroll the ball to where you want it. If you have accomplished that, thenthat's a good putt.' That was all I wanted to do today. There were a lot ofputts in the first couple of holes that I didn't make that I could have, soI paced myself and hung in there and they started dropping.'
The Washington National record was set during the second -round of the NCAAChampionships when Oklahoma's Lisa Meldrum shot 67.
Friberg opened the 72-hole tournament by carding rounds of 79 and 76.
Washington shot 305 during the third round to tie with South Carolina for19th overall at 904. The final round of the NCAA Championships will takeplace Friday.