While Purdue’s bid to return to the NCAA Finals as a team came up short Saturday, the Boilermakers will be represented in the individual competition as Big Ten champion August Kim made a timely birdie on her final hole on a Shoal Creek Club course at Shoal Creek, Ala. that proved to be a tough customer for the entire NCAA Regional field.
A birdie at the par-4 ninth hole gave Kim a 2-over 74 over the challenging 6,470-yard, par-72 Shoal Creek layout and enabled her to finish tied for ninth at 9-over 225. That gave her the last of the three individual berths from one of the non-advancing teams.
Big Ten co-champion Northwestern, No. 8 in the latest Golfstat rankings, put on impressive display in nailing down the regional team title. The Wildcats were the only team in the field that managed to break 300 in each round, going 296, 294 and 297 for a 23-over 887 total.
That gave them a comfortable 18-shot margin over Florida State, ranked 22nd, which had a final-round 309 for a 905 total. The other four teams that qualified for the NCAA Finals are: No. 9 Oklahoma State, which had a final-round 309 and a 907 total; No. 1 Alabama, which had a final-round 302 and a 908 total; No. 25 Tennessee, which had a final-round 301 and a 912 total; and No. 50 Michigan, which had a final-round 300 and a 916 total.
Northwestern was led by Janet Mao, a freshman from Johns Creek, Ga. who matched par in the final round with a 72 to share individual medalist honors with Florida State’s Matilda Castren, a junior from Finland, and California’s Marianne Li, a freshman from Bellevue, Wash., at 4-over 220. Castren had a final-round 75 while Li carded a 74.
Northwestern also got a strong showing from Kacie Komoto, a junior from Honolulu, Hawaii who slipped a little with a final-round 77, but finished alone in fourth place at 222.
Other than Kim, Purdue, ranked 36th, never really got it going at Shoal Creek as the Boilermakers had a final-round 304 to finish 11th at 936.
Marta Martin, a sophomore from Spain, finished tied for 50th at 235, Covadonga SanJuan, a freshman from Spain, finished tied for 66th, Linn Andersson, a sophomore from Sweden, had her best round of the tournament Saturday, a 2-over 74 to finish tied for 70th, and Anna Appert Lund, a senior from Sweden finished tied for 75th.
It wasn’t the finish to her career that Appert Lund envisioned, but she’s been a solid player throughout her career with the Boilermakers and, like Aurora Kan before her, leaves a winning legacy behind.
It was a tough finish for Notre Dame, ranked 40th, as the Fighting Irish had a final-round 321 to finish tied for 13th at 944.
But Notre Dame took three freshmen to Shoal Creek and was led by one of them, Emma Albrecht of Ormond Beach, Fla., who finished tied for 24th at 230. Jordan Ferreira, a junior from University Place, Wash., finished tied for 56th at 236, Maddie Rose Hamilton, a freshman from Louisville, Ky., finished 63rd, Talia Campbell, a senior from Dallas finally got it going with a final-round 77 to finis tied for 64th, and freshman Isabella DiLisio, the 2013 PIAA Class AAA champion at Mount St. Joseph who finished 89th.
It was a gritty effort by No. 1 Alabama, which never played up to its standards, but did what was necessary to move on. The Crimson Tide were led by senior Emma Talley, the reigning NCAA individual champion and the 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion whose final-round 73 left her tied for seventh at 224.
In the regional at the Traditions Golf Club in Bryan, Texas, the bid to qualify for the NCAA Finals as an individual by William & Mary senior Alessandra Liu, the former Lower Merion standout, came up short.
Liu was in position to grab one of three available individual berths to the Finals, but struggled home with a final-round 80 over the 6,373-yard, par-72 Traditions layout to finish tied for 29th at 5-over 221.
Meanwhile, Georgia, ranked sixth, put all its young talent on display to cruise to the team title at the Traditions.
If there was anyone that doubted Bailey Tardy’s credentials for the U.S. Curtis Cup team, the freshman from Peachtree Corners, Ga. put that to rest by sharing the individual title with UCLA junior Bronte Law, the English woman ranked by Golfstat as the No. 1 player in Division I.
Tardy’s final-round 71 gave her a share of the top spot with Law at 7-under 209. Law had a final-round 74.
Tardy led Georgia to a final round of 1-over 289 for a 6-under 858 total that was six shots clear of runnerup Arizona, ranked 11th. The Wildcats had a final-round 297 to finish at even-par 864. Law led Arizona’s Pac-12 rival UCLA to third place in the team standings, a shot back of Arizona at 1-over 865. UCLA had a final-round 297.
The other three qualifiers were: No. 19 Furman, which had a final-round 299 and an 873 total; Miami, which had a final-round 299 and an 877 total and Texas, which had a final-round 302 and an 879 total.
Georgia got strong performances from two other freshmen as Jillian Hollis, out of Rocky River, Ohio, had a final-round 74 to finish fourth in the individual chase at 5-under 211 and Rinko Mitsunaga, out of Roswell, Ga., had a clutch final-round 68 to finish tied for 12th at 1-under 215.
Third place in the individual standings went to Miami’s Dewi Weber, a freshman from the Netherlands who had a final-round 71 to finish at 6-under 210. Weber led the Hurricanes to their first berth in the NCAA Finals since 1992.
At Stanford Golf Course in Stanford, Calif. the host Cardinal, ranked 12th, battled Pac-12 rival Southern California, ranked second, to a draw.
Stanford had a final-round 287, a score USC bettered by two at 285 as the two teams both landed on 4-over 856. Big Ten co-champion Ohio State, ranked 31st, finished 19 shots behind the co-champs in third at 875, surprising North Carolina, again outperforming its No. 45 ranking, was fouth at 878, Arkansas, ranked seventh, was fifth at 879, and ACC champion Virginia, ranked 15th, grabbed the final berth in the NCAA finals with an 883 total.
Stanford was led by Casey Danielson, a junior from Osceola, Wis. who had a final-round 71 over the 6,269-yard, par-71 Stanford layout that left her tied for fourth at 3-under 211. Appropriately enough, Southern Cal’s top finisher, Tiffany Chan, a junior from Hong Kong, also had a final-round 71 to share fourth place with Danielson.
It was a near-miss for Wake Forest, ranked 39th, but the Demon Deacons got a nice consolation prize as Jennifer Kupcho, a freshman from Littleton, Colo. grabbed an individual berth to the NCAA Finals. Kupcho added a final-round 71 to rounds of 71 and 70 Thursday and Friday, respectively, to finish tied for sixth at 1-under 212.
Wake Forest had a final-round 293 to finish at 887, just four shots back of ACC rival Virginia, which got the final team berth.
Wake Forest sophomore Erica Herr, a two-time PIAA champion at Council Rock North, had a final-round 81 to finish tied for 79th at 235.
Virginia’s Elizabeth Szokol, a senior from Winnetka, Ill., and University of California-Davis’ Andrew Wong, a senior from San Francisco, shared individual honors at 4-under 209. Szokol had a final-round 67 while Wong blistered the Stanford layout with a 6-under 65.
Arkansas’ Alana Uriell, a sophomore from Carlsbad, Calif., had a final-round 71 to finish alone in third place at 3-under 210.
It’s hard to imagine that South Carolina’s talented Katelyn Dambaugh, a junior from Goose Creek, S.C., had never won a college tournament. Well, she has now.
Dambaugh carded a final round of 1-under 71 over the 6,285-yard, par-72 University Course at Baton Rouge, La. to capture the individual regional crown with a 9-under 207 total. Florida’s Karolina Vickova, a senior from the Czech Republic, staged a final-round charge with a 7-under 65, but still came up three shots behind Dambaugh at 6-under 210.
Dambaugh led South Carolina to a share of the regional team title with Vickova’s Gators at 7-under 857. The Gamecocks cooled off following up Friday’s 11-under 277 total with a 2-over 290 while Florida matched South Carolina’s middle-round feat with a 277 of its own in Saturday’s final round.
Washington, ranked 13th, was six shots back of the co-champions in third place with a final-round 288 and an 863 total. Duke, ranked fourth and the top seed at the regional, settled for fourth as a final-round 285 left the Blue Devils at 870.
Rounding out the six regional team qualifiers were Oregon, ranked 20th, which finished at 882 after a final-round 294, and Brigham Young, ranked 37th, which had an 884 total following a final-round 296.
Duke was led by Sandy Choi, a junior from South Korea who had a final-round 71 to finish tied for fourth at 3-under 213. Leona Maguire, a sophomore from Ireland and the top-ranked amateur player in the world, and Virginia Elena Carta, a freshman from Italy, finished tied for seventh at 1-under 215. Maguire had a final-round 72 while Elena Carta erupted with a 5-under 67 in the final round.
The NCAA Finals tee off May 20 at Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore. The field of 24 regional qualifiers will be wittled to 15 after three rounds and then only the top eight survive one more round before martch play begins.