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Friday, May 6, 2016

UCLA lays down the Law, Liu tied for ninth at the Traditions

   It’s not looking good for Notre Dame and Purdue at the women’s NCAA regional being held at the Shoal Creek Club in Alabama, so let’s start Day 2’s recap at the Traditions Golf Club in Bryan, Texas.
   The cream really rose to the top in Texas as UCLA’s Bronte Law, a junior from England who has been ranked the No. 1 individual player in Division I by Golfstat for much of 2016, birdied seven of the last 11 holes for a 6-under 66 over the 6,373-yard, par-72 Traditions layout to take over the individual lead at 9-under par 135.
   It is a theme you’ll see repeated throughout this post because some of the very best players in Division I women’s golf really got their games revved up at all four regional sites Friday.
Law sparked a surge by the Bruins, No. 2 in the latest Golfstat rankings and the top seed in the regional, as they fired a 9-under 279 to move into second place, a shot back of Pac-12 rival Arizona, ranked 11th.
   Arizona didn’t do too badly itself as the Wildcats carded a 6-under 282 to finish two rounds at 9-under 567. UCLA is another shot back at 8-under 568 and No. 6 Georgia, behind two of its precocious freshmen, had a 4-under 284 and is another shot back of UCLA in third at 7-under 569.
   Gonzaga’s Bianca Pagdanganan, a freshman from the Philippines, added a 3-under 69 to her opening-round 67 and is in second place in the individual chase behind Law at 8-under 136.
   Then comes the two Georgia freshmen as Jillian Hollis of Rocky River, Ohio fired a 5-under 67 and is in third place at 7-under 137 and Bailey Tardy, the U.S. Curtis Cup team member out of Peachtree Corners, Ga. carded her second straight 69 and is in fourth place at 6-under 138.
   Arizona was led by Krystal Quihuis, a sophomore from Tucson, Ariz. who had a 68 and is tied for sixth at 5-under 139, and Lindsey Weaver, a senior from Scottsdale, Ariz. who had a 69 and is tied for ninth at 3-under 141.
   Also at that 3-under 141 figure is William & Mary senior Alessandra Liu, the former Lower Merion standout who added an even-par 72 to her opening-round 69. Liu is trying to advance to the NCAA Finals as an individual and the top three finishers from non-advancing teams move on. That makes it sort of a moving target depending on how some of the teams fare, but Liu is still very much in the mix to advance.
   Two other Pac-12 teams flexed their muscles at the Stanford Golf Course in rainy Stanford, Calif., turning it into a two-team race for the regional team title.
    Stanford, ranked 12th and the defending NCAA champion, carded a 4-under 280 for a 1-over 569 total and holds a two-shot lead on its home course over Southern California, ranked second. The Trojans matched par with a 284 and are at 3-over 571. It’s another 13 shots back to ACC champion Virginia, ranked 15th, and Big Ten co-champion Ohio State, ranked 31st, both of which are tied for third at 584.
   The Cardinal were led by senior standout Mariah Stackhouse of Riverdale, Ga., who is tied for the individual lead after adding a 1-under 70 over the 6,269-yard, par-71 Stanford layout to her opening-round 69 and Casey Danielson, a junior from Osceola, Wis. who fired a 3-under 68 and is tied for third, a shot behind her teammate at 2-under 140. Danielson’s brother Charlie is a standout on the No.-4 ranked Illinois men’s team.
   Tied with Stackhouse for the lead at 3-under 139 is Arkansas’ Alana Uriell, a sophomore from Carlsbad, Calif. who posted a 5-under 67 after opening with a 1-over 72. USC’s Tiffany Chan, a junior from Hong Kong, is tied with Danielson for third at 140 after she added a 2-under 69 to her opening-round 71.
   Wake Forest, ranked 39th, is in ninth place at 594 after putting up a 299 Friday. But the Demon Deacons are very much in the hunt for the sixth spot, the final team qualifying berth, heading into Saturday’s final round.
   Wake Forest is five shots behind dangerous Arkansas, ranked seventh, which holds down fifth place at 589, and just three behind ACC rival North Carolina, which has been outperforming its No. 45 ranking in the postseason and is in sixth place at 591.
   Wake Forest was led by outstanding freshman Jennifer Kupcho of Littleton, Colo. who added a 1-under 70 to her opening-round 71 and is alone in fifth place at 1-under 141. Sophomore Erica Herr, a two-time PIAA champion at Council Rock North, had a 78 and is tied for 70th at 154.
At Shoal Creek, Notre Dame and Purdue have a lot of work to do to climb into a top-six position and advance to the NCAA Finals.
   The Fighting Irish, ranked 40th, added a 314 to their opening-round 304 and are in 11th place at 623 and Purdue, ranked 36th, struggled home with a 319 score after an opening-round 313 and is in 14th place at 632.
   Notre Dame freshman Isabella DiLiso, the 2013 PIAA Class AAA champion at Mount St. Joseph, struggled to an 84 and is tied for 79th at 164. Her fellow freshmen, Emma Albrecht of Ormond Beach, Fla. and Maddie Rose Hamilton of Louisville, Ky. led the way for the Fighting Irish.
Albrecht added a 3-over 75 over the difficult 6,470-yard, par-72 Shoal Creek layout to her opening-round 76 and is tied for 15th at 151 and Hamilton fell back with an 81 after an opening-round 74 and is tied for 49th at 155. Hamilton was joined at that figure by Jordan Ferreira, a junior from University Place, Wash. who has put together rounds of 79 and 76.
   Purdue’s August Kim, a junior from St. Augustine, Fla. and the winner of the Big Ten individual title, remained the leading lady for the Boilermakers. Kim added a 5-over 77 to her opening-round 74 and is tied for 15th at 151.
   Big Ten co-champion Northwestern, ranked eighth, remained atop the team standings with a six-shot lead over Florida State, ranked 22nd. The Wildcats, with three players in the top six, added a 6-over 294 to their opening-round 296 for a 14-over 590 total.
   Florida State had a 297 after an opening-round 299 and is at 596. Oklahoma State, ranked ninth, is another two shots behind Florida State in third at 598, and Alabama, the top-ranked team in the country and the top seed, moved into the fourth spot at 606.
   Florida State’s Matilda Castren, a junior from Finland who added a 1-under 71 to an opening-round 74, and Northwestern’s Kacie Komoto, a junior from Honolulu, Hawaii who had a 73 after opening with a 72, are tied for the individual lead at 1-over 145.
   Komoto’s teammates, Sandra Cho, a sophomore from San Diego, and Janet Mao, a freshman from Johns Creek, Ga., are in fifth- and sixth-place, respectively. Cho had a 72 Friday and is at 3-over 147 and Mao had a second straight 74 and is at 4-over 148.
   In a tie for third at 2-over 146 are California’s Marianne Li, a freshman from Bellevue, Wash., and Oklahoma State’s Linnea Johansson, a redshirt junior from Sweden. Li carded an even-par 72 and Johansson posted a 1-under 71.
   Alabama, while not playing its best, took a big step toward securing a spot in the NCAA Finals with a 300. The Crimson Tide were led by Emma Talley, the senior from Princeton, Ky. who is the reigning NCAA individual champion and the 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, and Cheyenne Knight, a freshman from Aledo, Texas, both of whom are tied for 15th at 151. Talley had a 4-over 76 while Knight carded a 2-over 74.
   At the University Club in Baton Rouge, La., Katelyn Dambaugh and South Carolina, ranked 24th, put on a show to surge into the lead, both individually and in the team chase.
   Dambaugh, a junior from Goose Creek, S.C. who first burst on the national scene with a runnerup showing in the 2010 U.S. Girls’ Junior, ripped off seven birdies in a 6-under 66 over the 6,285-yard, par-72 University Club course that gave her an 8-under 136 total and a four-shot lead in the individual chase.
   That led the Gamecocks to an 11-under 277 score that gave them a 9-under 567 total and an eight-shot lead over Washington, ranked 13th, at 1-under 575.
   South Carolina also got a pair of 69s from Sarah Schmelzel, a senior from Phoenix who is tied for eighth at even-par 144, and Ainhoa Olarra, a sophomore from Spain who is tied for 11th at 1-over 145.
   Washington was led by Charlotte Thomas, a senior from England whose 5-under 67 left her four shots behind Dambaugh in the individual chase at 4-under 140.
   Much like Alabama at Shoal Creek, Duke, ranked fourth and the top seed at Baton Rouge, moved into fourth place in the team standings with a 1-under 287 that left them at 9-over 585, five shots back of Florida, ranked fifth, in third at 580.
   Duke was led by Sandy Choi, a junior from South Korea who had a 3-under 69 and is tied for third at 2-under 142, and Leona Maguire, a sophomore from Ireland and the top-ranked amateur player in the world who posted a 2-under 70 and is tied for sixth at 1-under 143.

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