2014 women's golf championships to feature stacked field
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – The 2014 Pac-12 Women’s Golf Championships in Corvallis, Oregon, from April 25-27 will again feature some of the best collegiate women’s golf teams and individuals in the country. Six Pac-12 teams are ranked in the top-11 in the nation, including defending NCAA Champion and No. 1-ranked USC. Leading the Trojans is sophomore Annie Park, who is the reigning Pac-12 Player and Freshman of the Year. Park won the 2013 NCAA individual title a year ago and headlines a group of 12 Pac-12 individual players that are currently ranked in the top 25 in the country. The 2014 version of the championships is sure to be one of the best conference tournaments in collegiate golf.
Ranked #1 by Golf World, the Trojans have once again out done themselves, surpassing the school record they set last year for most wins in a season. The defending champions pack a serious punch, starting with Park, whose win at Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge earlier this year was USC's best-ever 54-hole total at the Palos Verdes Golf Club and the second-best in tournament history. Doris Chen’s 67 at the Bruin Wave was her third round in the 60s this year, a career-best for the junior. Another big trio for USC expected to contribute mightily at the championships is sophomore Kyung Kim and freshmen Gabriella Then and Karen Chung, as their victories sealed the deal at the Liz Murphey Invitational in early April. The Trojans could be hard to beat, but will have several serious contenders close on their heels.
The top threat to dethrone the Trojans is the Bruins of UCLA. The No. 2-ranked team in the nation has strung together a masterful season, finishing in the top three in seven out of nine appearances since September. UCLA is also home to the current No. 1-ranked women’s golfer in the U.S. Collegiate rankings in Alison Lee. This freshman star recorded her team’s lowest score five times this season. Junior Erynne Lee, also finds herself among the top-20 athletes in the nation. In her last start at the PING/Arizona State Invitational, she shot a total of 212, 4-under par. Freshman Bronte Law will also be another Bruin to watch after her first place in the Pac-12 Preview back in early November.
ARIZONA STATE will look to make it close at the top as the Sun Devils hold the number five spot in the nation. Noemi Jimenez will lead the way for the Sun Devils’ squad. In her first tournament of the spring, the junior shot a career-low 66 in the final round of the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge to help vault Arizona State to a third-place finish. She repeated this incredible low again at the Ping/ASU home tournament a week later. Seniors Dani Ordonez and Justine Lee will also be exciting to watch as they have been consistent scorers for the Sun Devils all season long.
Ninth-ranked ARIZONA has turned in a stellar year, finishing no lower than fifth in every tournament except three dating back to September. The Wildcats pulled to a fourth-place finish at the Bruin Wave Invitational, finishing ahead five teams ranked in the top-50, and notched a win at the SunTrust Gator Invitational in mid-March, defeating eight top-50 ranked teams. Sophomore Lindsey Weaver paced Arizona to a sixth-place finish at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge while freshman Wanasa Zhou collected two top-10 finishes this season, most recently leading the Cats to a fifth-place finish in the PING/Arizona State Invitational.
The Cardinal may be ranked behind four other Pac-12 teams, but it is a squad that should not be overlooked. At 10th in the nation, STANFORD recorded top-10 finishes in 10 tournaments this season, including a recent seventh-place finish at the PING/Arizona State Invitational against a field that featured seven of the country’s top-10 programs. Back-to-back team wins in early February at the Peg Bernard Invitational and UC Irvine Invitational were results of impressive performances by freshman Casey Danielson and sophomore Lauren Kim. Fellow sophomore Mariah Stackhouse, who finished the 54-hole UC Invite with a 4 under, 212 (70-69-73) for her fourth-career win and seventh top-10 showing on the season, will look to continue her impressive young career at the championships and help the Cardinal win the Pac-12 crown.
WASHINGTON rounds out the group of Pac-12 squads ranked with the top teams in the nation, coming in at No. 11. The Huskies are fresh off a huge win at the Silverado Invite. Junior SooBin Kim led the Dawgs all week, earning individual medalist honors at 9-under, 207 for the tournament. Jennifer Yang has also been a top finisher in each of the last four tournaments she has participated in. The Huskies have won two out of their last three tournaments and will look to continue that momentum next weekend.
CALIFORNIA turned in a solid regular season, finishing in the top 10 of every tournament this season. Senior Nicola Rossler has been a leading factor in that statistic, with her most notable performance being a tie for second at the Colorado State Ptarmigan Classic back in September. Hanna Suh has returned for a strong sophomore campaign where she most recently finished with a season low 4-under at the PING/Arizona State Invitational. The Golden Bears should also be excited about the contributions from freshman Lucia Gutierrez, who has been a consistent performer all year.
OREGON has recorded seven top-five team finishes this season, thanks in part to junior Cassy Isagawa, who has been a leader on the course for the Ducks. She opened by tying for fourth at the Peg Barnard Invitational with a 36-hole score of 141 (-1). Her 207 ranks tied for the second lowest individual tournament score in program history. Cathleen Santoso, a native of Sydney, Australia, carded a three-round score of 213 (-3) to earn co-medalist honors at the Juli Inkster Spartan Invitational. On the season, the freshman has carried a superb round average and has finished in the top-20 individually in seven of nine tournaments.
With back-to-back top 15 finishes, senior Jenny Coleman helped lead COLORADO to top-10 performances in its last five tournaments. Coleman tied for second at the Clover Cup, shooting 2-under par 214 with 6 birdies. Her twin sister Kristin Coleman will also bring experience and leadership to a young squad. She shot a team-leading 1-under par back in November at the Pac-12 Preview. Do not count out sophomores Jamie Oleksiew and Alexis Keating, who have both recorded two top-20 performances this season.
In a very competitive Silverado Showdown in early April, the OREGON STATE women’s golf team posted its second-lowest three-round score in school history. They finished in fourth place, placing ahead of six teams ranked in the top-50 in the country. Lauren Sewell posted the fifth top-10 finish of her career with a tie for sixth at the Peg Barnard Invitational. The Beavers also shattered the three-round school record with a 10-over 874 in the tournament. Seshia Telles is also having a great senior season that was highlighted with a top-10 finish at the Anuenue Spring Break Classic.
WASHINGTON STATE will be another team entering the championships looking to build off a recent upswing, as the Cougars have finished in the top-10 in four of their last five tournaments. They have had a solid season from the beginning, opening the 2013-14 slate with a win in their home tournament. Senior Mallory Kent posted a seven-shot victory for the Cougars to lead them to the victory. The team will also look to Kristen Rue, who has had a successful career thus far, as she found herself near the top of the individual leader board at the recent Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational in Hawaii.
The championships run from Friday, April 25 to Sunday April 27 at Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis, Oregon.