UCLA's Tiffany Joh Wins 2007 Pac-10 Championship in Play-Off
April 25, 2007
By Josh Meyers -
SEATTLE-- Tiffany Joh was quick to thank hole No. 18.
The UCLA sophomore sunk a long birdie putt on the final hole to force a two-way playoff with Arizona State freshman Anna Nordqvist, and then made another birdie on the second playoff hole at No. 18 to win the Pac-10 women's golf championship at Broadmoor Golf Course on Wednesday.
'I honestly didn't think I'd have a chance today,' said Joh, who later admitted she kept a picture of Nordqvist on her computer desktop. 'Luckily some things went my way and some things didn't go [Anna's] way.'
Joh, the 23rd-ranked player in the nation, finished with tied with Nordqvist with a 2-over 218 for the tournament after 54 holes. Her playoff win was her first tournament title in college -- she won the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year last season.
Behind one stroke to Nordqvist at the 18th tee, Joh knew she would have to birdie the final hole to have a chance to win, especially after bogeying both No. 16 and 17. She had struggled with her short game all day, but it came through for her in the end.
'I wasn't making any putts all day, honestly, but when I came down to it I thought maybe the golf course owes me one,' Joh said.
Or even two.
After each player parred the first playoff hole (the 424-yard No. 10), they returned to No. 18 where Joh then made the tournament winner. Regardless of the circumstances, Joh's loose mentality kept her from feeling too much pressure.
'I was on such an emotional high [after the birdie to force a playoff], that I was thinking anything that happens from here on is just the cherry on top, just to have this opportunity,' she said.
Nordqvist had held the lead from day one, but after a 3-over front nine, the No. 2-ranked freshman saw her four-stroke lead fall to just one. Nordqvist admitted she felt the increased pressure as her lead disappeared.
'Normally I like pressure, but I just couldn't make the putts,' said Nordqvist, who finished with a 6-over 78 for her final round.
After a double bogey on No. 14, Nordqvist's lead was gone. It could have been a devastating hole for the freshman, but she kept calm and regained the lead when Joh's bogeyed No. 16.
'It's golf, anything can happen,' Nordqvist said. 'I had my chances on the last holes, but I couldn't make the putts. I was close, but there is nothing I can do about it -- [Joh] had a really good 18 [holes].'
Stanford's Mari Chun shot a 73 to finish in third place with a 3-over 219, just one stroke behind the leaders. ASU freshman Juliana Murcia shot the round of the day, a one-under 71, to finish fourth at 4-over.
Rounding out the top-ten were Cal's Allison Goodman (+8), Arizona's Alison Walshe (+9), Cal's Sophia Janer (+10), USC's Dewi-Claire Schreefel (+10), USC's Paola Moreno (+10) and ASU's Jennifer Osborn (+12).
Top-ranked Arizona State won the team championship shooting a 33-over 897 for the three-day tournament. The Sun Devils led the field each day and beat 11th-ranked UCLA by 18 strokes.
No. 6 USC finished third with a 57-over 921, No. 15 Arizona was fourth at +59 and Cal shot a 62- over, good for fifth. No. 8 Stanford (+71), No. 60 Washington (+74), No. 45 Washington State (+80), No. 50 Oregon (+108) and No. 59 Oregon State (+188) followed.
'I can't be more proud of our team,' said ASU coach Melissa Luellen. The Sun Devils finished second last season to UCLA, just one stroke back. The program hadn't won the team title since 1996.
After the tournament, the Pac-10 awards were announced. In a Sun Devil-sweep, Nordqvist won Pac-10 Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year. Luellen won Pac-10 Coach of the Year for the second straight year.
Upon winning the Pac-10 POY, Nordqvist said, 'I just want to thank my teammates, I have such a great time with them.'
Luellen accepted the Coach of the Year award with associate head coach Missy Farr-Kaye.
'The girls are the ones that put us there; they're the ones that allow us to win these awards,'Luellen said. 'I give so much credit to them. It's just been a great year. We've just gotten better and better as the year's progressed and we're not done yet.'
Pac-10 Player of the Year: Anna Nordqvist, Fr., ASU.
Pac-10 Freshman of the Year: Anna Nordqvist, Fr., ASU.
Pac-10 Coach of the Year: Melissa Luellen, ASU.
All-Pac-10 First Team: Alison Walshe, Jr., Arizona; Azahara Munoz, So., ASU; Anna Nordqvist, Fr., ASU; Jennifer Osborn, So., ASU; Tiffany Joh, So., UCLA; Paola Moreno, Jr., USC.All-Pac-10 Second Team: Mary Jacobs, Jr., Arizona; Adriana Zwanck, So., Arizona; Mari Chun, So., Stanford; Jennifer Tangtiphaiboontana, Sr., Stanford; Lauren Todd, Sr., Stanford; Hannah Jun, Sr., UCLA; Amy Eneroth, So., WSU.
All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention: Juliana Murcia, Fr., ASU; Allison Goodman, So., Cal; Sofia Janer, Fr., Cal; Kim McCready, Sr., Oregon; Jessi Gebhardt, Jr., OSU; Ryann OÍToole, So., UCLA; Belen Mozo, Fr., USC; Catalina Marin, Sr., USC; Dewi-Claire Schreefel, Jr., USC.Pac-10 Sportsmanship Award:Jennifer Tangtiphaiboontana, Sr., Stanford.