EUGENE, WA (May 25, 2016) - With the championship match between defending champion Stanford and Washington tied at 2-2, Husky freshman Julianne Alvarez stood over her third shot on the 20th hole of the day, the par-4 18th. Alvarez knew that a national title was within reach and that with a close chip she could apply some pressure to her short sided opponent, Stanford senior Lauren Kim. Well Alvarez did more then put her chip close, she nearly holed it, leading to a par and a few moments later when Kim's par putt missed Washington had won it's first Division I Women's Golf Championship.
"This is just a surreal moment for me and these guys," Mary Lou Mulflur told Golf Channel on the 18th green. "They are just unbelievable and everybody did something great this week."
Alvarez was 3 up in the match with three holes to play but Kim was able to rally winning the final three holes, squaring the match. On 18 Kim converted an impressive up and down from the left side of the green placing the pressure squarely on Alvarez who had a par putt to win the championship. The putt slid by however, and it was on to extra holes. A pair of pars highlighted by an incredible wedge shot by Alvarez set up the dramatics on the 20th hole.
"I was always expecting Lauren to fight back," Julianne Alvarez said. "I just stayed steady and kept focusing on the next shot."
The Huskies had a chance to win the match about 45 minutes earlier when Sarah Rhee surged from 3 down on the back nine to tie the match against Stanford's Mariah Stackhouse. However, the senior and hero of last year's national championship would not fold. Knowing her team desperately needed a win she rolled in a clutch par on the 18th to send the match to extra holes. The players halved the first extra hole before Stackhouse won the match on the 18th, the 20th hole of the match.
Washington won their second point of the day when Ying Luo converted a long birdie chip in on the 18th hole against Stanford's Casey Danielson. The point gave the Huskies a 2-1 lead. With that chip in some Washington players thought they had won them the title, little did they know but there were many twists and turns left in the day.
"That was unbelievable," a smiling Ying Luo said. "I was standing behind the shot and imagining it going in."
In the other two matches Shannon Aubert (Stan) defeated Charlotte Thomas (Wash) 2&1 while Wenyung Keh (Wash) beat Sierra Kersten 4&3 in the most lopsided match of the day.
The championship for Washington wasn't only the first in program history but also the first for 32 year head coach Mary Lou Mulflur. "She deserves a win, she is a great coach," Ying said. "We came close last year and didn’t quite finish it but this year we knew we were just going to get it."
Mulfur's championship came in her home state and remarkably enough on the same course she won here first junior tournament. "I’m just speechless," said Mulfur during the 18th green trophy ceremony. "And to do this in your home state it just feels awesome."