Cougars Tee It Up At NCAA Championships
May 15, 2003
Among The Elite: For the first time in the program's history, the Washington State women's golf team has advanced to the NCAA Championships, May 20-23 at the par 72, 6,300 yard Kampen Course on the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex in West Lafayette, Ind... team scoring is figured by using the low four scores out of the five players on each team...the championship is a four-day, 72-hole event.
How The Cougars Advanced: WSU earned its ticket by finishing seventh at the NCAA West Regional, May 10...as a result of placing as one of the top eight teams, the Cougars garnered a spot to the national championships...WSU, which was No. 62 in the Golfweek/Sagarin ratings heading into the regional, was the lowest ranked team in the postseason to receive an at-large bid to NCAA play.
NCAA Field: The field consists of 24 teams and six individuals...eight teams and two individuals, not on a selected team, advanced from each of the three regionals (East, Central, West) for a total of 126 participants.
Following are the teams and individuals (in order of finish from each region) that make up the 2003 NCAA Championships field (Golfstat rankings are in parentheses):
East Region - Duke (1), Vanderbilt (9), Georgia (14), Auburn (7), Arizona (6), North Carolina (21), South Carolina (15), Florida State (18). Individuals - Brandi Jackson, Furman, Katie Futcher, Penn State.
Central Region - California (2), Kent State (20), Texas (5), Purdue (16), Nebraska (43), Wisconsin (36), Florida (13), Tulsa (22). Individuals - Christine Boucher, Kansas State; Nicole Melton, Texas A&M.
West Region - Southern California (3), Oklahoma State (8), UCLA (10), Pepperdine (4), Ohio State (11), Arizona State (24), Washington State (52), Stanford (26). Individuals - Sunny Oh, UNLV; Lindsay Morgan, Washington.
About The Course: The Kampen Course at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex plays to a par 72 at 6,300 yards... the Pete Dye designed course features bentgrass fairways, tees, and greens, tall heather rough, waste bunkers, pot bunkers and several ponds in an environmental conservation area.
Tee Times Set: WSU's practice and first/second round tee times are set...the Cougars tee off at 10:10 a.m. Central Standard Time, for their practice round, Sunday, May 18 and 9:50 a.m. CST for Monday's practice round...WSU will open the championships, Tuesday, May 20 at 8:10 a.m. from the 10th tee...the Cougars will play with South Carolina and Florida...WSU begins Wednesday's second round at 12:10 p.m. from the first tee.
Rankings: The Cougars are No. 52 and No. 58 in this week's Golfstat and Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, respectively...at No. 52, WSU is the lowest ranked team in the 24-team NCAA Championship field...Nebraska is the next lowest rated team at No. 43...in the individual rankings, Kim Welch is No. 45 in the Golfstat Cup standings and is No. 82 by Golfweek...Maria Kostina is 92nd and 116th in Golfstat and Golfweek, respectively.
Last Week At The NCAA West Regional: WSU - a team comprised of three sophomores and two freshmen under coach Walt Williams- earned its ticket to the NCAA Championships due to its seventh place finish at the NCAA West Regional at the par 72, 6,256 yard Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz., May 10...WSU, which was seeded 17th in the 21-team regional field and ranked 60th by Golfstat heading into the regional, finished ahead of 10 teams rated higher in the Golfstat poll including No. 19 Washington, No. 23 New Mexico State, No. 31 Stanford and No. 39 UNLV...WSU was led by the second place effort of Welch, who was one of only three individuals to end the 54-hole event under par...the Sacramento, Calif., native carded a final round 71 (-1), to complete the regional at 3-under par, two strokes behind UNLV's Sunny Oh...for the tournament, Welch recorded 11 birdies and an eagle...Welch tied for second in a 106-player field that included five players rated in the top10 of the May 7 Golfstat Cup rankings. Welch - rated No. 61 by Golfstat - bettered 15 golfers ahead of her in the rankings...sophomore Maria Kostina carded a final round 75 to finish in a tie for 34th at 228 (+12) while fellow sophomore Jay-Lee Longbottom posted her second consecutive 76 to finish at 235 (+19) and a tie for 61st. Freshmen Ashleigh Gilhuly and Stephanie Parsley both finished in a tie for 86th.
WSU Head Coach Walt Williams On Reaching The NCAA Championships: 'This is unbelievably exciting. Going in as the 17th seed we talked about that we had a shot if we played well because we thought we were better than a 17th seed.'
Williams On The NCAA Championships: 'We're not even supposed to be there. We were ranked 62nd in the nation coming into regionals and this is the top 24 teams. I think we have to approach it as just another tournament. We're going to go to have some fun and get to play a neat golf course. We're going to get to play against some great teams and some great players. If we relax and just play we'll beat some of them. If we don't then it will be a tremendous experience and we'll look back on it fondly.'
Williams On Welch's Performance At The NCAA West Regional: 'For that caliber of field that's the best she's probably played in her life. To shoot 68 on that golf course in the first round and to come back with a solid 74 in the wind and then to shoot under par in the final round with all the pressure on her is incredible.'
Williams On The Team Playing Under Pressure: 'They're very talented and they have learned to play in the clutch. They've learned to play when everything is on the line and just take it one shot at a time, which is something as coaches we preach all the time but often times they don't hear but this team seems to be hearing.'
Williams On If He Was Surprised By The Team's Success: 'I'm really not. They are all good players. I'm not surprised anytime they do well. I'm surprised sometimes by how well they do but I am not surprised they do well. If they play well they can compete with anyone and they proved that last week. I think they are very talented individually and they have fun collectively so that's what works.'
Cougars Post Best Finish At The Pac-10 Championships: Led by the ninth place effort by Kim Welch, the Washington State women's golf team finished the Pacific-10 Championships in seventh place at the par 72, 6,160 yard Trysting Tree Golf Club at Corvallis, Ore, April 26...WSU's seventh place finish was the best finish in school history by a women's golf team, and also the first time all year the Cougars have toppled the cross-state rival Washington Huskies, who were ranked 20th nationally coming in, and finished in eighth place...Kim Welch made history once again for the Cougars, completing the final round in ninth place, the highest finish by a WSU female golfer since the inception of the program...Welch was the only player to break par on Saturday, firing a 70, and recording birdies on four of her last five holes...Maria Kostina finished the tournament at a tie for 16th, the third best finish by a WSU golfer all-time...Stephanie Parsley shot three consecutive rounds of 78 to finish in a tie for 30th, followed Jay-Lee Longbottom, who completed the tournament in a tie for 40th, and Donna Bell who finished her final Pac-10 Championship as a Cougar in 57th...Ashleigh Gilhuly finished 56th as an individual.
Sq-Welch-ing The Competition: Although just a sophomore, Kim Welch has compiled a resume that a student-athlete would love to amass in a four-year span...Welch tied for second at NCAA West Regional with a 3-under score of 213...one of only three players in 106-player field to break par...bested five players rated in the top10 of the May 7 Golfstat Cup rankings. ...Welch - rated No. 61 by Golfstat heading into the regional - bettered 15 golfers ahead of her in the rankings...prior to her second place finish at the NCAA West Regional, May 12, Welch had already made an impression on the national collegiate golf scene...for the second time in her career, she earned national College Player of Week honors by GolfWorld magazine for its March 21 issue... the sophomore from Sacramento, Calif., received the honor as a result of her 14-shot victory at the Oregon Duck Invitational, March 11 at Eugene, Ore...Welch torched the par 72, 5,953 yard Shadow Hills Golf Course for a three round total of 209 (-7)...after posting an opening round score of 70, Welch followed that with a course record 4-under 68 in the second round...she capped the tournament with a final round 71 to successfully defend her individual title from last year (which earned her the first GolfWorld honor)...by doing so, she became the first female golfer in WSU history to capture a tournament title in back-to-back years...her first career victory came in the fall of 2001 at the Vandal Invitational...Welch's ninth place effort at Pacific-10 Conference Championships was the best individual finish at the tournament in school history...final round 70 at the Pac-10's was the lowest round in the field in the final round...Welch has posted eight top 10 efforts and 11 top 24 finishes in 2002-03...she now holds the school's career mark for Top 10 finishes at 14...was honored for the second consecutive year with an all-conference award, being selected to the all-Pac-10 second team.
International Flavor: The Cougars boast an international flair to the team with Maria Kostina and Jay-Lee Longbottom...Kostina came to WSU from Russia where she was a member of the Russian National Golf Team since 1998...upon joining the Cougars this spring, she has made immediate positive impact to the team...she opened the spring with three consecutive top three finishes: Inland Collegiate (T-2nd), Lady Moc Classic (2nd), Duck Invite (3rd)...shot a season low 70 in second round of Lady Moc Classic, March 1...has only finished out of the top 23 in one event this spring (T34, NCAA West Regional)...earned an conference honorable mention selection...she was recognized by Golf Digest Magazine as 'The Best Russian Golfer' in 1999 & 2001...Longbottom hails from Perth, Australia and joined the team in the spring of 2002...this year she has finished in top 10 three times: Peg Barnard Collegiate (3rd), Duck Invitational (6th), Lady Vandal Invitational (T-7th)...her third place effort at Peg Barnard was best of her career as she finished just three shots out of the lead...carded a season low 73 twice - second round Ram Fall Classic, Sept. 9 and the final round Lady Moc Classic, March 2...rebounded from opening round 83 at NCAA West Regional with a 76 in rounds two and three...has finished in the top 25 in 10 of her 21 career collegiate events.
Head Coach Walt Williams: WSU Coach Walt Williams is in his fifth season at the helm of the Cougars...since taking over the reigns of the program, Williams has guided the Cougars to four consecutive NCAA appearances (three team, one individual) marking the only NCAA appearances by the program in its history. ..Williams has led WSU to four tournament victories tying him for first on the school's all-time list for coaching victories.
Hitting The Trifecta: The Cougars opened the spring season with three consecutive tournament victories...WSU captured the Inland Collegiate, Feb. 21 and followed that up with a triumph at the Lady Moc Invitational, March 2...the trifecta was completed with a victory at the Duck Invitational, March 11.
Be A Cougar Caddie: Follow all the action at the 2003 NCAA Championships at wsucougars.com in addition to live scoring of the tournament on golfstat.com.
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