Kacie Komoto is all smiles after helping Northwestern extend
their lead at the NCAA Women's Championship
SUGAR GROVE, IL (May 21, 2017) - Northwestern solidified its position at the top of the leaderboard at the Women's NCAA Championship Sunday, shooting a 298 to pull ahead of Kent State by eight shots at Rich Harvest Farms.
For the second straight day, the Wildcats shot the low round of the field. Stanford University matched the score with a 298 of its own to move into solo third, ten shots back.
The rainy weather that sent scores soaring in round one and wiped out Saturday's play completely did finally move out for Sunday's round, but chilly temperatures and gusty winds stuck around and gave the players all they could handle. Head Coach Emily Fletcher described the conditions and the attitude of her Northwestern team to NUSports.com:
"The wind was up, and it was sort of swirling today," said Fletcher. "It wasn't blowing consistently in any one direction, which made it really hard for the girls to make some choices and some judgments out there. It's one of the things that differentiate our players. We play in tough conditions a lot, and our kids have really embraced it. They understand when we're out there on these types of days, there's value in it. Is it fun? No. But we know we're going to face these kinds of conditions, and it's going to be hard. They know it will pay off later."
That approach has resulted in the Wildcats (301-298--599) limiting the damage that so many higher ranked teams have sustained. None of the players have gone really low, but each day they have turned in five solid rounds of golf. One day one they were the only team to have all five players break 80, and on Sunday their highest counting score was a 77. Senior Kacie Komoto led the team with an even-par 72, followed by Stephanie Lau (74), Sarah Cho (75), Janet Mao (77) and Hannah Kim (78).
Kent State has also remained steady in putting themselves in the number two position heading into the final stroke play round. The Golden Flashes (303-304--607) were paced by Michaela Finn who shot a 72 and currently sits fifth in the individual competition.
Stanford (311-298--609) was led by Andrea Lee, who entered the tournament #5 in the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com Women's World Rankings. Lee shot a 71, one of only five under par scores recorded in the tournament so far.
Ohio State (311-299--610) and Baylor (311-300--611) round out the top five.
The biggest drama in the final round will surround which teams will make it inside the top eight; those teams will then advance to elimination match play to determine the team champion. The University of Miami currently sits in the eighth spot, with seven teams within six shots of the Hurricanes. Arizona State and Texas sit just one behind in ninth, followed by Purdue (2 back), Florida (3 back), North Carolina (5 back), Furman and California (both 6 back).
Monday's final stroke play round will also see the individual NCAA Champion crowned. World #3 Jennifer Kupcho of Wake Forest shot the low round of the tournament, a two-under 70, to finish 36 holes at even-par 144. Kupcho takes a one-shot lead over first round co-leader August Kim of Purdue, with Monica Vaughn of Arizona State and Ainhoa Olarra of South Carolina two shots behind.
World #2 Leona Maguire of Duke shot a one-under 71 to get into contention, four shots back of Kupcho.
ABOUT THE NCAA Division I Women's Championship
24 teams and 12 individuals not on a qualifying
team make up the field for the championship of
Division I women's golf.
After 72 holes of stroke play, the individual
champion is crowned, and the low 8 teams advance
match play to determine the team champion.
View Complete Tournament Information