No. 2 Cal Competes at Third Straight NCAA Championships
May 13, 2003
CAL IN SEARCH OF NCAA TITLE: Winners of three consecutive tournaments and seven overall this season, No. 2-ranked California travels to the NCAA Championships May 20-23 in West Lafayette, Ind. The 24-team tournament will be played at the par 72, 6300-yard Kampen Course of the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex, where the Golden Bears competed in the 2001 NCAA Central Regional. Teams will play 18 holes each day beginning at 8 a.m. CT. The team scoring is figured by using the low four scores out of the five golfers on each team per round.
BEARS' SEVEN WINS TOPS IN NATION: Cal's seven tournament wins this season are the most by any team in the country. No. 1 Duke has six titles to its credit, while No. 4 Pepperdine has five. The NCAA doesn't keep track of the record for most wins in a season. The Bears won three of their four fall tournaments (# of strokes won by) - Oregon State Invitational (9), Stanford Intercollegiate (2) and the Kent Youel Invitational (18) - and have followed that up with four trophies in the spring - Bay Area Classic (23), PING/ASU Invitational (1) the Pac-10 Championships (5) and the NCAA Central Regional (20). Cal, which has won tournaments by an average of 11.1 shots this season, is riding a three-tournament winning streak.
CAL COMES FULL CIRCLE: Two years ago, a young Cal team qualified for its first NCAA Championships by finishing eighth at the NCAA Central Regional at the Kampen Course. This year, a veteran Bears' squad returns to the same venue for the NCAA Championships as one of the favorites to win the national title in the program's eighth year of existence. The Bears also are aiming for the school's second women's team NCAA title, with the first being the '02 softball team.
A LOOK AT THE FIELD: The top eight teams from each of the three NCAA Regionals advanced to the NCAA Championships. Joining No. 1-seeded Cal out of the Central Regional were (in order of finish) Kent State, Texas, Purdue, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Florida and Tulsa. No. 1-seeded Duke, the 2002 NCAA champion, claimed the East Regional and moved on to nationals along with Georgia, Vanderbilt, Auburn, Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida State. USC won the West Regional and were followed by Oklahoma State, UCLA, No. 1-seeded Pepperdine, Arizona State, Ohio State, Washington State and Stanford.
CAL'S LINEUP FOR NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: After not duplicating a lineup for the first eight of 11 tournaments this season, Cal head coach Nancy McDaniel has finally found the lineup she likes best. The five golfers listed below have accounted for four of the team's seven tournament victories this season. The group has turned in three consecutive triumphs - the PING/ASU Invitational, the Pac-10 Championships and the NCAA Central Regional, in addition to claiming the Stanford Intercollegiate in the fall. Four of the five golfers competed at 2002 NCAAs.
Player YR 02-03 RNDS STROKES AVG LOW TOP FINISH1. Vikki Laing Sr. 31 2293 74.0 69 1st2. Sarah Huarte Jr. 28 2092 74.7 70 1st3. Claire Dury Jr. 26 1968 75.7 69 4th4. Sophia SheridanFr. 26 1973 75.9 71 2nd5. Ria Quiazon Sr. 28 2135 76.3 70 T2nd
CAL'S NCAA HISTORY: After capturing its first NCAA Regional title, Cal prepares for its third straight and third overall appearance at the NCAA Championships. In 2000, the Bears placed 22nd at the NCAA West Regional in Tempe, Ariz., and didn't advance to the NCAA Championships. In 2001, Cal finished eighth at the Central Regional in West Lafayette, Ind., and earned the last spot at the NCAA Championships in Howey-In-The-Hills, Fla. The team went on to finish 19th at NCAAs. Last season, the Bears took third at the West Regional in Stanford, Calif., and 15th at NCAAs in Auburn, Wash. Prior to 2000, Cal had no postseason experience. Individually, Sarah Huarte paced Cal at the 2002 NCAAs, tying for 31st with a school record for 72 holes of 296. Vikki Laing led the team at 2001 NCAAs, tying for 44th with a 303.
LAING, DURY LEAD CAL TO NCAA REGIONAL CROWN: No. 1-seeded Cal lived up to its billing by earning a commanding 20-shot victory at the NCAA Central Regional in Lincoln, Neb. The Bears' margin of victory was the most of any of the regionals, as Duke won the East by eight shots, and USC took the West by 10. In winning the NCAA Central, the Bears shot the low score in each round for a 54-hole total of 897. Kent State was second at 917. Laing held a one-shot lead after the second round but ended up finishing one shot off the pace at 218. Junior Claire Dury grabbed fourth with a 221, including the tournament-low third-round score of 73 in wet, cold and windy weather.
LAING LEADS CAL TO PAC-10 TITLE: Behind Laing's individual victory, Cal claimed its first Pac-10 title and sixth tournament victory of the season at Trysting Tree Golf Course in Corvallis, Ore. The course has become a home away from home for the Bears, which have won their last four events there. In winning the conference crown with a 54-hole score of 892, Cal held off three-time defending Pac-10 champion Arizona by five strokes. Laing's victory, her second collegiate and the first Pac-10 title in school history, came down to the final hole. The Scottish national team player recorded an even-par 216 to hold off third-ranked Mikaela Parmlid of USC (217) and top-ranked Erica Blasberg of Arizona (219).
A LOOK AT THE RANKINGS: After being ranked 13th in the Golfweek preseason poll, Cal has climbed to program-best national rankings of No. 2 by Golfstat and No. 7 by Golfweek. There are many indications that this year's Cal team is the deepest and best in the program's eight-year history. Currently, five players rank in the Top 90, according to Golfweek - Laing (15, program best), Huarte (20), Sophia Sheridan (66), Mika Takayama (69), Dury (84) and senior Ria Quiazon (88). The Bears' average dropped score of 78.53 is the best in the country.
HOW CAL FARES STATISTICALLY (as of May 8): Cal has fared well in various statistical categories this year. As a team, the Bears boast the nation's No. 1 total short game (.552), are No. 2 for putts on greens in regulation (1.892) and for par 5 scoring (5.02), are No. 3 for par 4 scoring (4.25), No. 5 for par 3 scoring (3.19) and No. 10 for subpar strokes per round (2.06). Individually, Quiazon is seventh for total short game (.608), while Laing is eighth (.591).
BLUE AND GOLD DOMINATE PAC-10 AWARDS: McDaniel was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year for the second time in her career. The Bears dominated the All-Pac-10 awards with six honorees. First team choices were Laing and Huarte, while Quiazon landed on the second team. Honorable mention kudos went to Dury, Sheridan and Takayama.RECORDS FALL IN 2002-03: Cal has already set several new program records this season. The list includes new team 36 (581) and 54 hole (870) records at the Kent Youel Invitational in October. In April, Huarte finished second at the PING/ASU Invitational with school-record marks for 36 (140) and 54 holes (213). Laing matched Huarte's 36-hole record at the NCAA Central Regional. In addition, Laing's season average of 74.0 is on track to break Huarte's record of 74.5 (2001-02). Cal's team average of 298.1 is on pace to eclipse last season's record of 299.2.
BEARS BOAST FOUR PLAYERS WITH NATIONAL TEAM TIES: Four Cal golfers have ties to different national teams - Laing (Scotland), Quiazon (Philippines), Dury (New Zealand) and Sheridan (Mexico). Recently, Laing represented Great Britain & Ireland at the Curtis Cup, while Quiazon medalled at the Asian Games (3rd team, 5th individual). Among Cal's starting five, only Huarte was born (Placerville, Calif.) in the United States. Quiazon was born in Manila, Philippines, but currently resides in Union City, Calif.
DID YOU KNOW?: Sarah Huarte comes from an athletic family. The list includes: her uncle, John Huarte, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1964 while a standout football player at Notre Dame; Sarah's younger sister, Laura, is currently a pole vaulter at Notre Dame; Sarah's father, Jim, played football at Saint Mary's (CA); and her mother, Judy, competes in long-distance road races, including May's Boston Marathon.