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Complete coverage: Moving day at NCAA Women's Regionals
07 May 2019
by Julie Williams of AmateurGolf.com

see also: NCAA Women's South Regional Championship, University of Georgia Golf Course

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From left: Michaela Finn, Kent State; Gina Kim, Duke; Jennifer Chang, USC; Olivia Mehaffey, ASU
From left: Michaela Finn, Kent State; Gina Kim, Duke; Jennifer Chang, USC; Olivia Mehaffey, ASU

NCAA women’s regionals are 54 holes of high-pressure golf – sometimes ending with bigger upsets and more surprises than the national championship itself. It’s no guarantee that the top teams get to the national championship in this format. Plenty of can’t-miss teams have been on the outside looking in.

Seventy-two teams are divided among four regional sites this week, with play starting Monday, May 6 and ending Wednesday, May 8. Only six teams will advance from each site to set up the 24-team national championship field.

Check AmateurGolf.com daily for a wrap-up of the current day and a breakdown of what to watch for as the week unfolds.

NCAA South Regional (Saugahatchee CC, Auburn, Ala.)

Team leader: Duke (1-over 577)
Individual leaders: Auston Kim, Vanderbilt; Virunpat Olankitkunchai, Maryland; Linette Holmslykke, Murray State (4-under 140)
Scoreboard

The hook: The Auburn regional is like the banner ad for the strength of the ACC Conference. For a long time, women’s golf was about the Pac-12, the SEC…and Duke. But after 36 holes at Saugahatchee, ACC teams Virginia and Florida State are both within three shots of Duke in the lead.

Florida State has had a program-defining season behind player-of-the-year candidate Frida Kinhult, a freshman. The other three freshman in the lineup, plus junior Amanda Doherty, picked up for Kinhult on Tuesday, however, as her 75 was the throw-out score. Florida State still had a 1-over team total to stay within three shots of the lead.

Virginia had the best round of the day and remarkably, that was also without help from its best player, Anna Redding. The senior struggled to a 76 after turning with 41, but three Hoos shot under par to pick her up. That's teamwork.

Duke head coach Dan Brooks said (after Round 1): “The greens are challenging. I asked the team about something a little unusual, I asked them how many had more than one three-putt. It wasn’t a negative comment at all, because I saw three putts from all the teams that we are playing. The greens are challenging, they’re good greens but there’s grain, a lot of undulation, so the key is to be patient and not beat yourself up.

If the cut fell today: Duke, Virginia, Florida State, Vanderbilt and East Carolina would advance, with Auburn and Tennessee falling into a playoff.

Tomorrow, watch for… East Carolina to hold its position. The Pirates, just five shots off the pace, are in fifth place, and it marks the first time in program history that they sit inside the cutline heading into final-round action in an NCAA Regional. East Carolina, under veteran head coach Kevin Williams’ guidance, has earned 13 regional bids in 19 years of existence. This would be its first national-championship appearance. It would be one heck of a regional performance, too, for a No. 14 seed.

NCAA Central Regional (Jimmie Austin OU GC, Norman, Okla.)

Team leader: Texas (8-under 568)
Individual leader: Olivia Mehaffey, Arizona State (9-under 135)
Scoreboard

The hook: Texas and Florida have effectively separated themselves at the top of this leaderboard at 8 under and 7 under, respectively. Come Wednesday, the interesting part becomes what’s going on around the No. 6 position. Ole Miss, which won the SEC in match play, and Texas Tech are two good teams to watch.

Advantages come and go quickly in college golf, so a team like Virginia Tech in eighth, but only seven shots out of sixth, is far from out of it. The Hokies program is only in its fourth year of existence, and very nearly advanced to the national championship last year. (Interestingly, Virginia Tech blogs each of its regional rounds, and you can follow Tuesday’s here.)

If the cut fell today: Texas, Florida, Purdue, Wake Forest and Arizona State would advance, with Ole Miss and Texas Tech playing off for the sixth spot.

Tomorrow, watch for… Purdue was one of four teams to shoot under par Tuesday, and with 17 birdies, carded their 12th round (as a team) under par for the season. The Boilermakers need to keep up that kind of scoring to guarantee themselves a spot in the national championship.

NCAA West Regional (Tumble Creek Club, Cle Elum, Wash.)

Team leader: USC (10-under 566)
Individual leader: Jennifer Chang, USC (7-under 137)
Scoreboard

The hook: USC put in the work early in Cle Elum. Advancing is not a guarantee in this format, even if you’re the No. 1 seed. But with a 12-shot cushion on Washington in second place and 22 shots separating USC from the cutline, the Trojans should be able to breathe a little easier in the final round on Wednesday. USC had a 3-under 285 on Tuesday, which was the only score under par in the 18-team field.

For good measure, we’ll sing the chorus again: It’s not about winning in regionals, it’s about advancing. Still, USC annually makes it about winning. The Trojans have won an NCAA-best 12 of these, including the 2014 NCAA Regional at Tumble Creek.

If the cut fell today: USC, Washington, San Jose State, Arkansas and Northwestern would advance, with Ohio State and UCF playing off for the final spot.

Tomorrow, watch for… Arkansas to hold their position in the final round. The Razorbacks have put some energy into hosting the national championship at home, and national championships are always more exciting when the host team is in the field. Arkansas is 7 over as a team in fourth, five shots above the sixth-place teams.

NCAA East Regional (Forest Akers West GC, East Lansing, Mich.)

Team leader: Kent State (3-under 573)
Individual leader: Patty Tavatanakit, UCLA (7-under 137)
Scoreboard

The hook: The headline of the day – at least the early part of the day – in East Lansing was the weather. Overnight rain caused tee times to be pushed back over three hours. Players eventually went off in a shotgun start at 2:45 p.m. ET. Leader Kent State rolled with it while Arizona and UCLA capitalized on it. (After such a late start, it's actually somewhat surprising that teams got in all 18 holes.)

Arizona went 4 under in the second round, holding tightly to its second-place position. UCLA rose four spots on the leaderboard to third with a 3-under 285. Stanford also rose four spots to fourth. So much for those Pac-12 teams being on the bubble.

Arizona head coach Laura Ianello says: "The ladies did amazing today. . . . We put ourselves in a great spot to hopefully overtake Kent State and get a victory. The ladies are mentally sharp and working really hard. I'm really proud of them, and their preparation these last two weeks is really paying off."

If the cut fell today: Kent State, Arizona, UCLA, Stanford, Indiana and Illinois would advance.

Tomorrow, watch for…: Tuesday was a rough day for Michigan State as the Spartans slid five spots down the leaderboard to ninth. Still, only four shots stand between the host team and the sixth spot on the leaderboard, so Michigan State needs to take advantage of the home advantage on Wednesday and score.



Results: NCAA Women's South Regional
1FLAuston KimSt. Augustine, FL100070-70-70=210
2DenmarkLinette HolmslykkeDenmark70075-65-71=211
T3FLMorgan BaxendaleWindermere, FL50075-71-67=213
T3ThailandJaravee BoonchantThailand50072-71-70=213
T3ThailandVirunpat OlankitkunchaiThailand50070-70-73=213

View full results for NCAA Women's South Regional

ABOUT THE NCAA Women's South Regional

54 hole women's NCAA Regional from which the low teams advance to the NCAA Championship.

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