Aurora Kan, the 2010 PIAA champion as a senior at Chichester, will tee it up at the NCAA Central Regional next week at the Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., but I’m fairly certain the Purdue junior isn’t happy about the fact that the rest of the Boilermakers aren’t coming along for the ride.
Kan has been very consistent throughout her junior season while Purdue, which finished third at the NCAA Tournament a year ago, had the kind of up-and-down season you might expect from a team that lost a couple of very talented seniors in Paula Reto, who is already playing on the LPGA Tour, and Laura Gonzalez Escallon, who is playing on the Symetra Tour, the LPGA’s developmental tour.
Purdue probably lost any chance of making the NCAA Tournament field as a team when it finished eighth at last weekend’s Big Ten Tournament, held on the Pete Dye Course at the French Lick Resort in French Lick, Ind.
The Boilermakers got off to a rough start with an opening-round 315, improved to a 302 in the second round and fell back to 307 in the final round for a 924 total. Michigan State and Ohio State shared the conference team title at 895 with the Spartans making up an eight-shot deficit to the Buckeyes in the final two rounds.
Northwestern, which shared the Big Ten title with Purdue a year ago, was third at 905, Penn State was fourth at 912, Illinois was fifth at 913, Wisconsin was sixth at 914, and Minnesota was seventh at 918, six shots clear of the Boilermakers in eighth.
As she has much of the season, Kan, a qualifier for match at last summer’s U.S. Amateur, was the leading lady for Purdue. She had steady rounds of 79, 75 and 76 for a 230 total that left her in a tie for 18th, a showing that, combined with her season-long consistency landed her an individual invitation to the national regional. Kan was named to the all-Big Ten first team this week.
The Boilermakers got solid showings from their two Swedes, as sophomore Anna Appert Lund (81-75-75--231) and junior Johanna Tillstrom (78-75-78—231) both finished a shot back of Kan in a tie for 23rd. Sophomore Vinh Hoa Ngo (77-77-78—232) was another shot back of Lund and Tillstrom in a tie for 28th. Freshman August Kim (82-79-79—240) finished 54th and sophomore Brooke Beegle (89-85-78—252) finished 70th.
But Purdue lacked the kind of go-low players that Ohio St. had as the Buckeyes went 1-2 with Jessica Porvasnik captured the Big Ten title with rounds of 73, 72 and 71 for an even-par 216 total over the 6,017-yard, par-72 Pete Day Course layout and Zoe-Beth Brake finished second with rounds of 74, 71 and 74 for a 3-over 219 total.
It was nice to see Jackie Calamaro, the 2009 PIAA champion as a senior at Radnor, get a chance to tee it up for Illinois at the Big Ten Tournament. A redshirt junior, Calamaro had not been making many trips for the Illini, so she obviously battled her way onto the team for the trip to French Lick. Calamaro had rounds of 81, 80 and 77 for a 238 total that left her in a tie for 49th.
And make no mistake about it, the Illini have some talent. Two of Calamaro’s teammates, senior Ember Schuldt and freshman Stephanie Miller were, like Kan, invited as individuals to the Central Region Tournament.
At the Big Ten tourney, Schuldt (77-73-75—224) finished alone in fifth and Miller (79-73-77—229) finished in a tie for 15th.
Like Illinois, Penn State will also send two individuals to nationals, with senior Christina Vosters and junior Ellen Ceresko, the reigning two-time Pennsylvania Women’s Amateur champion, headed for Southwood Golf Club in Tallahassee, Fla. for the East Regional hosted by Florida St.
Vosters (75-75-77—227), of Bethany Beach, Del., finished in a tie for ninth at the Big Ten tourney while Ceresko (80-80-72—232) finished in a tie for 28th.
Five Big Ten teams did get the call to the NCAA regionals, co-champ Ohio St. and Minnesota are going to Stillwater and the Central Regional while co-champ Michigan St., Northwestern and Wisconsin are headed to the West Regional at the Tumble Creek Club at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum, Wash.
I guess there wasn’t room for one more Big Ten entrant at the party, although with two Nittany Lions, two Illini and one Boiler getting individual invitations, there was obviously some measure of respect there.
The college golf scene is so wide-ranging it’s tough to get a feel for a team’s body of work relative to the rest of the country, but I would think one more Big Ten team out of the trio of Penn State, Purdue and Illinois deserved to go as a team. Based on its fourth-place finish at the Big Ten tourney, that team should probably be Penn State. There is no bracketology for the NCAA women’s golf tournament, but – with apologies to Joe Lunardi -- I’m guessing Penn State, Illinois and Purdue were among the last five out
Bernard’s big finish
Lauren Bernard, a Notre Dame product and Aronimink Golf Club member, and fellow Bucknell seniors Bridget Wilcox and Kasha Scott finished off their careers with a flourish, leading the Bison to the team title at the Patriot League Tournament.
Bucknell competed in the tough Big South Conference when Bernard was a freshman and she pulled off a remarkable runnerup finish in her rookie year. Last season the Patriot League added women’s golf and Lehigh won the inaugural team title.
Boston University joined the party this season and was Bucknell’s chief rival in the bid for the team title at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem.
Bernard’s second-round 73 helped Bucknell grab the lead and the Bison then held off a furious BU charge to claim the team title, the first conference crown in the program’s history.
Bucknell posted team scores of 313, 306 and 311 for a 930 total to hold off BU (320-311-302—933) by three shots.
Bernard, the 2011 Philadelphia Women’s Amateur champion, finished third in the individual chase with an opening-round 79 and a final-round 76 to go with that stellar 73 in the middle for a 228 total. Wilcox (76-75-79—230) finished fourth and Scott (79-79-77—235) finished in a tie for fifth. Sophomore Meghan Garanich came up big with a pair of 79s in the final two rounds for the Bison. Garanich (88-79-79) and Jennifer Lee (79-83-84) finished in a tie for 14th at 246.
Lehigh’s Crystal Lee captured the individual title with rounds of 75, 73 and 76 for a 224 total.
Bernard, Wilcox and Lee earned all-Patriot League honors for the second straight year.