Ducks Win Albuquerque Regional, Advance To NCAA Championships
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Oregon women's golf team added another major milestone to its historic 2021-22 season on Wednesday, winning the NCAA Albuquerque Regional to advance to the NCAA Championships for the 12th time in program history.
The No. 2 Ducks claimed the program's first-ever win at an NCAA Regional while setting a new program record with their fifth tournament win of the season. Oregon finished the week 4-under par after shooting 4 over on Wednesday, defeating No. 13 Texas by three strokes. Georgia (+2) and TCU (+10) will join the Ducks and Longhorns at the 2022 NCAA Championships, set to begin on May 20 in Scottsdale, Ariz.
"Incredibly proud of what our team was able to accomplish here this week," head coach Derek Radley said. "They came here with the mindset that they were going to win this Regional and make a statement going into the NCAA Championships, and they did just that. This is such a tight group of five and they've made so much history together already this season, but we're not done yet. I can't wait to see what we do in Scottsdale."
Junior Briana Chacon became the first Duck ever to claim individual medalist honors at an NCAA Regional, shooting 9-under par across the three days to win by an impressive four strokes. It is the first collegiate win of Chacon's career, and Oregon now boasts an NCAA Regional individual champion and the 2022 Pac-12 Champion in Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Lu.
"We saw last year how dominant Briana can be when she turns it on, and she really had every part of her game working here this week," Radley said. "She was so steady and focused all week long and really played some phenomenal golf. I couldn't be more proud of her for getting her first win on this kind of stage."
How it Happened: The Ducks entered the final round with an eight-shot advantage after firing back-to-back 4-under 284s on Monday and Tuesday. Texas cut into that lead with a 2-under 286 on Wednesday, but Oregon's position atop the leaderboard was never truly in jeaporady.
Chacon finished off her individual victory with a 1-over 73, shooting 1 under on the front nine before making three bogeys and a birdie on the back. Her 9-under par week is the best performance vs. par in her collegiate career, and she posted the best three-round score ever by an individual in a New Mexico-hosted postseason event.
Senior Tze-Han (Heather) Lin continued to show a knack for playing her best golf in the final round of a tournament, leading the Ducks with an even-par 72. After a bogey at No. 10 brought her back to even par, Lin made par on each of her final eight holes.
Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen matched Chacon at 1 over, her third straight 73 of the week, and Ching-Tzu Chen rounded out the counting scores with a 2-over 74.
Lu was a rare non-counter to Oregon's team score on Wednesday with a 4-over 76, inflated by a triple bogey on No. 1 and a double bogey on No. 5. But she was still the team's second-highest individual finisher, tying for eighth place at 1-over par. Nielsen also earned a top-20 finish in 16th at 3 over, and Oregon's entire lineup placed in the top 25 with Chen tied for 22nd and Lin tied for 25th.
Team Leaderboard (top 4 advance to NCAA Championships):
1. #2 Oregon – 284-284-292 – 860 (-4)
2. #13 Texas – 287-290-286 – 863 (+1)
3. Georgia – 292-284-290 – 866 (+2)
4. TCU – 292-291-291 – 874 (+10)
5. #11 Florida – 288-296-291 – 875 (+11)
6. #23 Arizona – 293-295-288 – 876 (+12)
T7. Louisville – 295-296-294 – 885 (+21)
T7. Sam Houston – 302-286-297 – 885 (+21)
9. Oklahoma – 299-303-293 – 895 (+31)
10. North Texas – 296-307-303 – 906 (+42)
11. New Mexico State – 302-304-301 – 907 (+43)
12. Northern Arizona – 309-305-316 – 930 (+66)
Ducks on the Leaderboard:
1. Briana Chacon – 65-69-73 – 207 (-9)
T8. Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Lu – 71-70-76 – 217 (+1)
16. Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen – 73-73-73 – 219 (+3)
T22. Ching-Tzu Chen – 75-72-74 – 221 (+5)
T25. Tze-Han (Heather) Lin – 75-75-72 – 222 (+6)
What it Means: Oregon has firmly established itself as one of the frontrunners to win the national championship in Scottsdale. The Ducks have broken nearly every school record possible this season, and having their entire starting five in the top 25 in Albuquerque speaks to the balance and depth of Oregon's lineup. With No. 1 Stanford also advancing, the Ducks will be the second-highest ranked team in the field as they chase the first national title in program history.
Notable: Oregon led the field in par-3 scoring throughout the week at even par … The Ducks made 43 total birdies, tied with Georgia for the most in the field … Chacon was the top player in the field on par-4 holes at 4-under par, and Lu's 4-under mark on par-3 holes was also tops among all individuals … Lu tied for the individual lead with 13 total birdies, with Chacon right behind with 12.
Up Next: The NCAA Championships will begin with the first round of stroke play on Friday, May 20. The 24-team field will be cut to 15 teams following the third round of stroke play, with the final round set for Monday, May 23. The top eight teams after the fourth round of stroke play will advance to match play, with the quarterfinals and semifinals set for Tuesday, May 24, and the championship match scheduled for Wednesday, May 25.