NCAA women's golf: Seven Pac-12 teams advance to Tulsa

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USC won the west regional and UCLA claimed the central regional as seven Pac-12 women’s golf teams advanced to the NCAA championships at the conclusion of regional play Saturday. The Trojans and Bruins will be in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the NCAA championships from May 20-23 alongside Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Stanford and Washington.

West Regional (Tumble Creek Club at Suncadia Resort; Cle Elum, Washington)

USC

It was a 1-2-3 regional at Tumble Creek for the Pac-12. On a day that the course played tougher than it had all week (no team came close to par on Saturday), USC kept the big numbers to a minimum and won the regional by one stroke over Washington with a Saturday 298 (+10) and a 54-hole tally of 876 (+12). Annie Park finished T2 individually while Kyung Kim, who had at least a share of the lead after Thursday and Friday, slipped into a tie for fourth. Overall the West Regional champs appear to be in good enough form to contend for another national title.

Washington

Oh so close for the Dawgs, whose three-day total of 877 (+13) was just one stroke too many. However, Washington can take solace in the fact that they were the only team to not be over par by double digits on Saturday. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that the Dawgs can book a flight to Tulsa. Mary Lou Mulflur saw three of her young women finish in the top seven on the individual leaderboard, with SooBin Kim tying for second (-1 after a 75 on Saturday), Charlotte Thomas climbing up to sixth after her best round of the regional on Saturday (71, +1 overall) and Jennifer Yang claiming seventh at 2-over. If it weren't for a 41 on the front nine Kim could have very well won the regional, but she fell two strokes shy of…

Arizona State

…Noemi Jimenez, the West Regional individual champ at 3-under. One stroke off the lead after each of the first two rounds, Jimenez battled back from bogeys on two of her first three holes to play under-par golf over the final 15 and wrap up Saturday with a 72 (E). Overall it wasn’t the best of days for the Sun Devils, who shot 311 (+23) on Saturday after posting back-to-back 289s in the first two rounds and only had one other golfer (Monica Vaughn) shoot sub-80 besides Jimenez for the day. That said, the Forks still finished comfortably in third with a 54-hole result of 889 (+25) and will be golfing in a week and a half in Tulsa. Pretty good streak they got goin' in Tempe:

 

Oregon

Oregon’s season came to an end with a three-day total of 934 (+70) landing it in 14th. On the bright side, the Ducks had their best round of the regional on Saturday with a 309 (+21). Caroline Inglis rebounded from a shaky Friday to put together a more-solid Saturday, shooting 3-over in the third round to finish the regional at +10, good for a tie for 22nd and just three strokes shy of the second-best individual not on a top-8 team. Another bright spot of the day was when freshman Marcella Pranovia eagled the par-5 15th and birdied the very next hole; nice little sequence there. All in all, there were pretty good individual seasons to be had for a few Ducks:

And there's also this from a team perspective:

 

 

The five non-Pac-12 teams advancing out of the West Regional are Oklahoma, Michigan State, Iowa State, Texas A&M and Northwestern. The individual participants advancing to the championships are Clariss Guce of Cal State Northridge and Denver's Tonje Daffinrud.

Central Regional (Karsten Creek Golf Club; Stillwater, Oklahoma)

UCLA

Saturday in Oklahoma was an absolute cakewalk for the Bruins, who were the only team to shoot under par for the day (287, -1). As a result, UCLA finished 17 strokes ahead of second-place Alabama to claim the Central Regional crown. The team total for 54 holes was 875 (+11), and UCLA improved every day on the course. True to form, the Bruins again displayed their depth by not posting a score worse than even par on Saturday. Alison Lee blazed the trail in the third round with her second consecutive 71 to finish in a tie for fifth on the individual leaderboard. Ani Gulugian was one of three Bruins to shoot even par on the final round. ‘Twas quite the turnaround for Gulugian, who carded an 83 the day before.

 

California

Cal couldn’t continue the pace it had set for itself on Thursday and Friday, but the Bears had built up enough of a cushion to move on to the NCAA championships without much fanfare. The Golden Bears golfed well above what their No. 12 seed would suggest all regional long, finishing at 30-over and in fourth place (just two shots behind second-place ‘Bama and one back of third-place Mississippi State). The 305 posted by Cal on Saturday was its worst round of the regional by 10 strokes, but Hannah Suh impressed with her second even-par round at Karsten this week and was the low Bear for the regional at 2-over. That was good for a tie for seventh for Suh, and Lucia Gutierrez earned her second top-20 finish of the year as a result of her 5-over landing her in a tie for 15th.

 

Arizona

A second 306 at Karsten had Arizona on the outside looking in for a good portion of Saturday (granted they teed off early), but the Wildcats got enough help from the rest of the field to get back into the top eight and are now on their way to their 19th NCAA championships. Avoiding a playoff by one stroke, the Wildcats got 76s from Wanasa Zhou, Kendall Prince and Manon Gidali to stay above the dreaded red line. Gidali finishes as the low Wildcat for the regional, clocking out at 4-over to tie for 13th on the individual leaderboard.

Colorado

Like Oregon, Colorado's season came to an end on Saturday as it wrapped up the Central Regional with a final-round 319 to put it in 16th place at 63-over. Saturday’s round was Colorado’s worst by 13 strokes on the weekend, partly because the Buffs had to count an 84 from Jamie Oleksiew. Alexis Keating had the lowest round for CU on Saturday with a 77, while Jennifer Coleman’s 8-over was the best Buff result for 54 holes. Coleman finished in a tie for 24th and 10 strokes behind the second-best individual golfer whose team did not finish in the top eight. In fact, the top-2 individual golfers in the Central Regional represented teams that finished below the cut line.

Joining UCLA, Cal and Arizona in the NCAA championships from the Central Regional are Alabama, Mississippi State, THE Ohio State University, Kansas and Florida, which beat out Oklahoma State in a playoff for the eighth and final spot. The individuals advacing out of the Central Regional are Kent State's Wad Phaewchimplee and UNLV's Dana Finkelstein.

East Regional (SouthWood Golf Club; Tallahassee, Florida)

Stanford

The 2014 Pac-12 champs put together a third-straight solid round, shooting 289 as a team on Saturday to finish 2-over for the weekend. That’s good for fifth place in the East Regional, meaning Nerd Nation is on its way to Tulsa. Mariah Stackhouse’s reign of dominance ended, as the sophomore shot 2-over on the day to finish the regional tied for 11th at 3-under. Sharing 11th with Stack was Lauren Kim, who put together the best round of the day for the Card with a 69 (you knew it was going to be a good day for her right off the bat; she eagled her first hole). Stanford’s top four was so consistent that Mariko Tumangan’s very-respectable 75 was discarded from the team tally.

 

Stanford advances out of the East Regional alongside regional champ Vanderbilt, South Carolina, North Carolina State, Duke, Virginia, Tulane and those Fighting Camels from Campbell. The individual qualifiers for the NCAA championships from the East Regional are Baylor's Haley Davis and Gabriella Wahl of East Tennessee State.

 

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