- Stanford Women's Golf photo
Record-setting performances, a major scare for the top-ranked team in the nation, a few surprises and utter heartbreak defined the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Regionals which concluded on Wednesday.
Fifth-seeded Stanford turned in a record-breaking performance on its own course to post a 30-stroke victory with a winning score of 28-under 284 while Pac-12 individual champion Rachel Heck carded rounds of 68-67-67 to earn medalist honors for her fifth victory of the season.
Top-ranked South Carolina, the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed, advanced by the skin of their teeth, surviving a one-hole playoff against SEC rival Arkansas for the sixth and final spot out of the Louisville Regional.
Four teams seeded outside the top-six in their respective regionals earned a trip to Scottsdale, including No. 7 Michigan and No. 10 Kentucky out of the Columbus Regional and No. 7 Michigan and No. 8 UCLA out of the Louisville Regional.
Heavy rains and course conditions “not playable at a championship level” wiped out the Baton Rouge Regional. As a result, the top-six seeded teams along with the three top-seeded individuals in the regional will earn an exemption into the NCAA Championship field at Grayhawk.
Here’s a recap on all four regionals which wrapped up on Wednesday:
Baton Rouge Regional (University Club)
After two days of postponements, heavy rains and poor course conditions ultimately forced the cancellation of the Baton Rouge Regional.
NCAA Committee representative Brad Hurlbut told the 18 teams and competing individuals that “even though the course is playable, it’s not playable at a championship level.” As a result, the top six seeds entering the regional and the top three individuals outside of these teams were given their tickets to the National Championship without a single shot played at the Regional.
University of Miami freshman Sara Byrne shared a video on Twitter of the emotional atmosphere in light of the cancellation.
A difficult ending for all involved, the following teams and individuals will advance to the National Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club.
No. 1 LSU, No. 2 Ole Miss, No. 3 Baylor, No. 4 Oregon, No. 5 Maryland, No. 6 Alabama.
Karen Fredgaard (Houston), Nataliya Guseva (Miami), Hanna Alberto (Sam Houston State).
Columbus Regional (Scarlet Course)
The Georgia Bulldogs lit up the Columbus Regional, finishing with a 54-hole total score of 865 to earn a 15-stroke victory over second place Duke and Arizona State, with the latter surging after tying for a tournament low team score of 288 in the third round. Kentucky nestled itself into a solo fourth-place finish, while Michigan and Kent State tied up the final two seeds to round out the advancing six teams. Georgia’s Jenny Bae earned medalist honors, finishing with a 212 at 4-under with a three stroke cushion ahead of a three-way tie for second featuring Linn Grant, Caley McGinty and Monet Chun. Bae’s seven birdies in her second round 68 was the standout performance.
“This week my short game was really good, especially my putting,” Bae told Georgiadogs.com. “Without putting yesterday, I don’t think I would have made all of those birdies, and I think that really helped today, too.”
No. 3 seed Virginia and No. 6 seed Vanderbilt each finished outside of the top six, but had individuals on both teams clinch their shot at the National Championship. Virginia’s Beth Lillie advances after tying for fifth place, while Vanderbilt duo Louise Yu and Celina Sattelkau are also headed to Grayhawk.
No. 5 Georgia, No. 1 Duke, No. 2 Arizona State, No. 10 Kentucky, No. 7 Michigan, No. 4 Kent State
Louise Yu (Vanderbilt), Beth Lillie (Virginia), Celina Sattelkau (Vanderbilt)
Louisville Regional (University of Louisville Golf Club)
Anchored by juniors Amelia Williamson and Beatrice Wallin, Florida State powerfully punched its ticket to Grayhawk by winning its first regional in program history in wire-to-wire fashion with a team score of 872.
“In the beginning of the year, I didn’t really know what we were going to have with two juniors and three freshman,” head coach Amy Bond told Seminoles.com. “To be where we are and for them to win a regional for the first time is huge.”
Fourth-seeded Texas and seventh-seed UCLA tied for second to claim spots in Scottsdale, while Auburn and Michigan State used strong final rounds to finish inside the top six. Auburn jumped eight spots up the leaderboard into fourth place with 2-under 286 on Wednesday, while the Spartans 5-over round of 878 secured a trip to the desert. UCLA sophomore Emma Spitz notched medalist honors with an 8-under 208, five strokes clear of Mikala Bardwell of Tennessee and Amelia Williamson of Florida State.
The Louisville Regional came with a surprising plot twist of its own, as No. 1 seed South Carolina found itself in a compromising position. The Gamecocks struggled over the three days of the Regional and found itself tied with Arkansas at the end of regulation for sixth place. With a trip to Scottsdale hanging in the balance, South Carolina used an eagle from Pauline Roussin-Bouchard and a birdie from Ana Pelaez Trivino to defeat the Razorbacks on the first playoff hole, keeping their national championship hopes alive.
No. 2 Florida State, No. 4 Texas, No. 7 UCLA, No. 3 Auburn, No. 8 Michigan State, No. 1 South Carolina
Mikayla Bardwell (Tennessee), Lauren Hartlage (Louisville), Christin Eisenbeiss (North Florida)
Stanford Regional (Stanford Golf Course)
The host wasn’t the most highly-seeded team coming into competition, but home course advantage sure played to Stanford’s favor as the Cardinal finished 30 strokes ahead of the rest of the field for a team total of 824, breaking team score school records throughout 18, 36 and 54 holes of play. U.S. Women’s Open qualifier Rachel Heck claimed medalist honors with a total score of 202, booking another trip on the calendar, this time to the National Championship. Wake Forest marginally stayed ahead of the rest of the pack to claim second, while Oklahoma State held on for third and Virginia Tech secured fourth place. Arizona leapt into the top six with a team best 279 for the day, with six birdies from YuSang Hou who was a major contributor to the Wildcats earning a spot at Grayhawk. USC struggled in the final round shooting 5-over, but claimed the final spot.
Impressive performances from unaffiliated individuals included Kasja Arwefjall of San Jose State with an impressive final round 67, Brigitte Thubault of Fresno State, and Anna Zanusso, whose top-10 finishes clinched individual spots to Grayhawk.
No. 5 Stanford, No. 1 Wake Forest, No. 2 Oklahoma State, No. 4 Virginia Tech, No. 6 Arizona, No. 3 Southern California
Kasja Arwefjall (San Jose State), Brigitte Thubualt (Fresno State), Anna Zanusso (Denver)