Day 3 recap: USC wins West, six Pac-12 teams headed to NCAA women's golf championships

Six was the magic number for the Conference of Champions when it came to the NCAA women's golf regionals on Saturday. USC won its school-record sixth tournament of the season by finishing atop the West Regional leader board. Arizona and Oregon finished in a three-way tie for sixth with San Jose State to advance out of the West Regional. And six Pac-12 schools overall advanced to the NCAA women's golf championships May 21-24 in Athens, Ga.: USC, Stanford, Oregon, Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA.

West Regional


The Women of Troy fought on for USC, usurping Purdue and Vanderbilt to claim the West Regional belt. Andrea Gaston's gals shot a combined 4-under Saturday to finish the 54-hole event with a regional-best 859 (+7), edging out Purdue by a single stroke (860, +8). Things were even closer atop the individual player leaderboard, where Annie Park found herself sharing first place with Purdue's Paula Reto at 7-under. Make it two straight tournaments won by Park, who claimed the Pac-12 championship a little more than two weeks ago.

However, the most impressive round of the day was posted by Kyung Kim, who shot a regional-low and school-record 63. Her 8-under today propelled her into a tie for third with Vanderbilt's Kendall Martindale at 3-under overall. The sixth tournament win of the season for USC broke the program record of five that was achieved in 2005 and 2008.

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Stanford qualified for the NCAA championships after a final-round 290 (+6) that set it in fifth place for the regional (875, +23). It is the fourth straight year and 19th time overall that the Cardinal have qualified for the finals - those previous 15 came all in a row from 1993-2007. Mariko Tumangan (+3) finished highest on the player leaderboard for the Card, wrapping up regional play in a tie for 10th. Mariah Stackhouse didn't finish far behind her at 4-over and wound up in a tie for 14th after a 73 on Saturday. Sally Watson also continued her strong play after a slow start. From 81 to 74 to 72, Watson saved her best for last and scored an eagle in the third hole of her final round.


By the skin of their chinny-chin-chins, Arizona and Oregon got in. Both schools finished the tournament tied for sixth along with San Jose State at 889 (+37), one shot better than ninth-place Baylor. The Wildcats' highest finisher, Janie Jackson (tied for 18th), had her worst round of the tournament today as a result of a 43 on her first nine holes and 76 overall (a triple bogey followed by a double bogey did her in), but she got some major-league help from Kendall Prince and Patricia Garcia. Both went under par in their final rounds, with Prince shooting 69 (-2) and Garcia carding a 70 (-1). LPGA legend and World Golf Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam will be rooting for the school she golfed for in the early 1990s to win its third national championship later this month. The Wildcats previously won it all in 1996 and 2000.


Entering the West regional as the No. 14 seed, the Ducks overachieved to earn their eighth NCAA finals berth. Oregon sealed the deal Saturday by shooting an even 300 (+16). Cassy Isagawa fell a little bit off her Thursday-Friday pace with a 72 (+1) to round things out, but her 2-under after 54 was still good for fifth place along with Emilie Burger of Georgia. Avery Sills also showed well, shooting her best round of the tournament with a 74 that was powered by three birdies, two of which came on par-3s. The non-Pac-12 schools joining USC, Stanford, Arizona and Oregon in Georgia from the West Regional are Purdue, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and San Jose State.


Unfortunately for the Golden Bears, they couldn't make it a perfect 5-for-5 for the Conference of Champions, finishing in 18th at 53-over for the tournament. On the bright side, Cal did have its best round of the tournament today with a 296 (+12). Joi Penton set the pace at 1-over after birdieing two of her last three holes. The low-scoring Golden Bear for the tournament was Nicola Roessler, whose plus-10 overall was good for an 11-way tie for 39th (included in those 11 were USC's Rachel Morris and Arizona's Patricia Garcia).

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Jennifer Coleman missed out on a solo trip to Athens; the Buffs' lone golfer on The Farm had her best round of the tournament today with an even-par 71, but it wasn't enough to put her in the top 2 for individual golfers not on a top-8 team. Coleman finished in a tie for 33rd in the West Regional carding 222 (+9) for the tournament.

Central Regional


The Forks booked their ticket to SEC East Bulldog U by shooting even par (288), their best round of the regional by four strokes. Overall, Arizona State's +14 placed the squad in fifth, one stroke behind a fourth-place Florida squad that also shot even par on the day. Justine Lee was the low woman of the regional and the day for Arizona State, improving from a plus-3 on Thursday to a 2-over on Friday before a 2-under on Saturday. The Australian native finished the regional tied for 19th with seven other competitors.


Washington came on strong down the stretch, needing a 3-under on the last hole from their last two golfers still out on the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club. The one birdie they delivered was a valiant effort but not enough, and the Huskies wound up in 10th, two strokes shy of eighth-place Michigan State. That said, Ying Luo found herself inside the top 10 after a Saturday 68 made her 1-under overall, which ended up being good for a tie for eighth. As such, she earned herself a trip to the NCAA championships as one of the top 2 individuals from the Central Regional and will be golfing come May 21 in Athens. SooBin Kim wasn't far behind, registering her second under-par round of the tournament to finish in a five-way tie for 11th at 1-over.

The Sun Devils will take their talents to Athens along with Duke, Oklahoma, Mississippi State, Florida, UC Davis, Wisconsin and Michigan State from the Central Regional.

East Regional


Heading into the day in a tie for eighth, The Bruins left nothing to chance in their final round, improving upon Friday's result by ten strokes to shoot 289 (+1) in the final round and 875 (+11) for all 54. That total put them in seventh in the East Regional and a spot in Athens for the NCAA Championships along with Alabama, Tulane, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Texas, Northwestern (Go U, NU) and Auburn . Make it a baker's dozen now for the Bru Cru: With their latest qualification, the Bruins have now earned 13 straight appearances to the NCAA Women's Golf Championships. Tiffany Lua was the star of the day for UCLA, birdieing the 18th to finish the round with a 69 (-3). For the tournament, her even par was good for a tie for 18th on the player leader board. You know you're doing something right as a team when you don't count a 76 towards your team score (Lee Lopez's number for the day).

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