Arizona Ties For Second At NCAA Women's Golf Championships

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AUBURN, Wash. -- Leading the NCAA Championships wire-to-wire proved to be too daunting for the Arizona women's golf team. The Wildcats fell into a tie for second place at the conclusion of the 72-hole tournament after leading after the first three rounds. Arizona carded a team total of 296 Friday to complete the tournament at 18-over-par 1170.

Duke University won the team title with a four-round score of 12-over-par 1164 behind the individual performance of tournament medalist Virada Nirapathpongporn who finished at 9-under-par 279. Auburn and Texas shared second place with the Wildcats, while Georgia rounded out the top five.

'I am proud of our team for what they did all week long,'said second-year head coach Greg Allen. 'The team played well, Duke just played a notch above us down the stretch today.'

Arizona held the lead as late as the 15th hole, but was unable to hold off hard-charging Duke who closed the tournament with the tournament's third-best team round (287).

Sophomore Lorena Ochoa capped her season by placing second at 4-under-par 284. Ochoa completed the tournament with a final-round 73, just her second career round in the NCAA Championships over par. The 5-foot-7-inch star from Guadalajara, Mexico, found herself near the hole in regulation throughout the day, but was unable to sink putts.

'It was very tough out there today,' Ochoa said. 'I just tried to hit it close to the hole and I did. I just didn't make any putts.'

Ochoa finished her season with eight wins and two second-place finishes in only 10 tournaments. Her final stroke average for the 2001-02 season was 70.13.

Junior Laura Myerscough continued her outstanding play as she capped her third year competing as a Wildcat with her finest performance. The native of Charleston, Ill., took seventh place and finished at 2-under-par 286. Myerscough improved 19 strokes from her 53rd place showing in 2001. She closed the tournament with a 1-under 71. Among the highlights of Myerscough's round on Friday was a 25-foot putt for birdie on the sixth hole.

The remaining members of Arizona's lineup; Cristina Baena, Mar Garcia and Miriam Kraschinski; each carded final-round 76s. Garcia completed the tournament tied for 70th place at 14-over-par 302. Baena shared 75th at 16-over-par, while Kraschinski tied for 88th place at 18-over-par.

The second-place finish caps an outstanding season for the youthful Arizona women's golf team in which it claimed its third consecutive Pac-10 Conference Championship, produced 19 individual top-20 finishes and made its eighth straight appearance at the NCAA Championships. The UA's average finish at the NCAA Women's Golf Championships over the last seven years is third place.

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