NCAA women's golf regionals: ASU, USC tied for 1st; UCLA leads Central
Arizona State and USC share the west regional lead and UCLA has claimed the top spot in the central regional at the conclusion of the second day of competition in the NCAA women’s golf regionals. It has been a solid first two rounds for the Pac-12 overall, as seven of the nine Pac-12 teams competing are in position to advance to the NCAA championships (May 20-23 in Tulsa, Oklahoma) heading into the final round of regional competition.
West Regional (Tumble Creek Club at Suncadia Resort; Cle Elum, Washington)
The Trojans have some company at the top of the Tumble Creek leaderboard, as Arizona State has stormed into a tie for first with USC after posting a 289 (+1) on Friday. Overall, the Forks and Trojans are both 2-over through 36 holes. Let’s start with the Sun Devils, because Laura Blanco was an absolute BOSS Friday. The senior from Colombia carded a 3-under 69 and had back-to-back birdies on 17 and 18 (though those weren’t her last holes; she started on 10). Monica Vaughn went even par for the day and Noemi Jimenez and Justine Lee posted 74’s. Currently at 3-under for the regional, Jimenez is one shot back of the individual lead. And, being 28 strokes ahead of ninth-place Wisconsin, I’d say they’re in decent shape to move on to the NCAA championships.
Nothing for the Trojans to worry about, but USC was unable to duplicate its Thursday success and deposited a 6-over 294 Friday, 10 strokes higher than its opening-round score. Kyung Kim now has company atop the individual leaderboard after her Friday 74 dropped her to minus-4 for the regional. On the bright side, Annie Park continued to show her championship form by posting her second consecutive round of 71. She is one of just two players in the Tumble Creek field to go under par in each of her first two rounds, and the other one is…
…Husky junior SooBin Kim, who has posted back-to-back 70’s to tie Kyung Kim for first on the individual leaderboard. The South Korea native caught fire at the end of her round, tallying four birdies over her last six holes. But let’s talk about the big picture: The Huskies got into the clubhouse at 4-over on Friday and are also 4-over for the regional. This leaves the Dawgs in third place and in a sweet spot to advance to the NCAA championships after narrowly missing out in 2013. Charlotte Thomas also had a solid round, shooting even par on the day.
Things aren’t looking good for the Quacks. Oregon shot 26-over for the round and finds itself in 17th place with a team score of 625 (+49). In addition to dropping one spot from the previous day, the Ducks are now 20 strokes off the cut line. As a result of back-to-back double-bogeys on 10 and 11, Caroline Inglis has fallen far behind in the chase for an individual spot in the NCAA championships. She finished 7-over on Friday and is +7 for the regional. Australian freshman Cathleen Santoso is also at 7-over through 36-holes after carding a team-best 75 on Friday. However, Oregon's golfers weren't the only ones struggling:
The average score from the field in today's round increased to 79.35.
— Oregon Women's Golf (@OregonWGolf) May 10, 2014
Central Regional (Karsten Creek Golf Club; Stillwater, Oklahoma)
Top-seeded UCLA is doing what a top seed should: leading the regional after two rounds. The Bruins were 10 strokes better than their opening round, carding a 1-over 289 to surpass the five teams that had ‘em in a tie for sixth place after 18 holes. It has been a total team effort for Carrie Forsyth’s crew, because no Bruin is in the top 15 of the individual leaderboard (Pac-12 champ Alison Lee comes closest at tied for 16th after a Friday 71 has her at 2-over for the regional). The depth displayed by the Bruins on Friday was impressive, because the highest score that counted for UCLA was Bronte Law’s 74 (Ani Gulugian’s 83 did not go against the Bruins’ team score). Kudos to Eyrnne Lee for shooting a 1-under 71 as well.
— UCLA Women's Golf (@uclawomensgolf) May 10, 2014
The 12th-seeded Golden Bears just refuse to drop down the team leaderboard too far, as Cal finds itself just one stroke back of UCLA with 18 holes to go in Stillwater. Nancy MacDaniel’s second-place bunch improved its team score by one stroke on Friday, posting a 6-over 294 in the second round after registering a 7-over 295 in the first. Lucia Gutierrez was the star of Friday for Cal, as the freshman from Peru put together her sixth round of par golf or better of the season with a 1-under 71. After bogeying two and five, Gutierrez was blue square-free and added birdies on eight, 12 and 18. The Golden Bears also got solid rounds from Nicola Rössler (+1 Friday, +3 overall) and Hannah Suh (+2 Friday, +2 overall).
— Cal Women's Golf (@CalWomensGolf) May 10, 2014
Well hello there, Arizona. Things looked a little dicey after Thursday’s round left the Wildcats in a tie for 12th, but now they are thoroughly in the mix at 19-over for the regional and in seventh place. How did Arizona jump into championship position? By improving upon its Thursday round by 17 strokes; Arizona posted a 1-over 289 to equal UCLA for the second-best round on the Stillwater course Friday (THE Ohio State University dropped the mic with a 288). However, the Wildcats are far from being in the clear. Just eight strokes separate the top nine, and Arizona is just one shot on the right side of the cut line. The worst scores to count for the Wildcats were the 73’s put up by Lindsey Weaver, Wanasa Zhou (eight strokes better on Friday) and Kendall Prince, while Manon Gidali went #rednumbers on us all with a 70 that has her back at even par for the regional and tied for seventh in individual matters.
— Arizona Women's Golf (@UAWomensGolf) May 10, 2014
The Buffs actually shot better as a team Friday than they did Thursday. The problem? So did a whole lot of other teams in front of them and behind them. So, despite shooting four strokes better – 302 (+14) on Friday as opposed to 306 (+18) on Thursday – the Buffaloes dropped from a tie for 12th with Arizona to 16th place. It would take a mighty effort for Colorado to sneak into the top eight (CU is currently 12 strokes off the cut line), but there is a chance that Jennifer Coleman could head to Tulsa as an individual competitor with a good round on Saturday. Carding a 74 on Friday and posting a 2-over through 36 holes, Coleman is two strokes behind the second-best individual who is not currently on a top-8 team (or on a team that is tied for eighth like Oklahoma State's Jayde Panos). There are others between second-best and her, however, so Coleman will probably need an under-par round to continue golfing beyond the weekend.
East Regional (SouthWood Golf Club; Tallahassee, Florida)
Didn’t take long for the Card to catch up. Thanks to posting the second-lowest score in Tallahassee Friday, the Cardinal jumped up to sixth place with its 2-under 286 that has them at 577 (+1) with 18 holes to go. First-place Vanderbilt (-10) will be tough to catch, but with an eight-stroke lead over ninth-place Florida State, the Cardinal is in a solid position to be busy from May 20-23. Who does Stanford have to thank? Mariah Stackhouse, who is atop the East Regional individual leaderboard after a Friday round of 71 has her at 5-under for the regional. Stackhouse is one of just two golfers in the East to post under-par rounds on both Thursday and Friday (Maty Monzingo of Texas State being the other). While #InStackhouseWeTrust, Casey Danielson actually had the best round of the day for the Card with a 70 and is now 1-under through 36. Lauren Kim, a top-10 finisher at the Pac-12 championships alongside Stackhouse and Danielson, posted a second consecutive even-par round.
Regional competition concludes Saturday. Again, the top-8 teams from each 24-team regional will advance to the NCAA championships along with the top-two individuals whose teams didn’t make the cut.