Cal Claims Pac-12 Title By One Stroke
PULLMAN, Wash. - CALIFORNIA captured its program's second Conference title, posting a 54-hole total of 881 (+17) to win the 2012 Pac-12 Women's Golf Championships at the Palouse Ridge Golf Club in Pullman, Wash. The Golden Bears' first crown came in 2003. USC freshman Doris Chen became the fifth Trojan and second straight to win the Pac-12 individual title.
Cal entered the final round with a three-stroke lead over COLORADO and held off an aggressive group of teams down the stretch. Over halfway through the round, Colorado, USC, ARIZONA, UCLA and ARIZONA STATE were all within striking distance of the Bears. In the end, the race came down to Cal and defending Conference champion USC. The Trojans pulled into a tie at 18-over after the 16th hole and two holes remaining for the Bears.
The two teams remained tied until Cal's second to last golfer, senior Joanne Lee, birdied the 18th to put her team up by one stroke. Senior Daniela Holmqvist made par on the final hole as the Bears finished the day with a 4-over 292.
"We stay with our goal, which was to be in the hunt after the first 12 holes each day," said Cal head coach Nancy McDaniel. "Today was especially good because we ended up making really good pars and playing smart coming down those last three holes. It was a lot of fun knowing that we had to play well to stay ahead of USC."
McDaniel noted the high level of competition within the Pac-12, as eight of the Conference's 11 teams entered the tournament ranked in the top 25.
"You've really got to have it on to stay ahead of these teams," said McDaniel. "They are the best in the country. To win this battle is super special and gives us a lot of confidence going into postseason."
USC was 1-under on the day with a 287 to finish second with an 822 (+18) after three days. Arizona jumped from sixth place to third after posting the lowest round of this year's tournament with a 7-under 281. The Wildcats totaled 884 (+20). UCLA finished fourth with a 21-over 885 and Arizona State rounded out the top five with an 887 (+23).
USC's Chen started the final round tied for 13th and hit seven birdies en route to a 4-under 68. She won the individual championship with a 217 (+1). Chen joins Jennifer Biehn (1994), Candie Kung (2000), Paola Moreno (2008) and Sophia Popov (2011) as Trojans to take medalist honors.
"I gave my best today," Chen said. "Today I was playing my game, and I was pretty relaxed. I was striking the ball consistently. I'm sure this will help my confidence going into NCAAs."
Arizona State's Giulia Molinaro and UCLA's Tiffany Lua tied for second place (218, +2). Joanne Lee led Cal with a fourth-place finish (219, +3). There was a four-way tie for fifth between Holmqvist, USC's Lisa McCloskey and Popov and Arizona State's Daniela Ordonez (220, +4).
"This win was amazing," Lee said. "We knew were going to be close and everyone would fight for it till the end. Everyone took it one shot at a time. We'll see how we can one-up this in Regionals."
Pac-12 teams now look toward NCAA Regional selection on Monday, April 30. NCAA Regionals will take place May 10-12 in Erie, Colo., State College, Pa., and Columbus, Ohio. Colorado will serve as the tournament host in Erie.
2012 Pac-12 Women's Golf Championships - Final Standings
1. California 306-283-292--881 (+17)
2. USC 306-289-287--882 (+18)
3. Arizona 315-288-281--884 (+20)
4. UCLA 304-290-291--885 (+21)
5. Arizona State 299-298-290--887 (+23)
6. Colorado 308-284-296--888 (+24)
7. Stanford 320-288-292--900 (+36)
T8. Oregon 307-300-302--909 (+45)
T8. Washington 315-294-300--909 (+45)
T8. Washington State 312-297-300--909 (+45)
11. Oregon State 317-300-300--917 (+53)