SUNCADIA, Wash. – No. 11 Washington stayed in contention with a big back nine, finishing with a second round of 4-over 292 at Tumble Creek Club at Suncadia Resort. The Dawgs are in third place at 4-over 580, just two strokes off the lead.
The Huskies need to finish in the top eight to advance to the NCAA Championships and are comfortably in position with eighth place currently at 29-over 605. No. 1 USC and No. 6 Arizona State share the lead at 2-over, while No. 7 Oklahoma is in fourth at 10-over.
The Dawgs took advantage of the back nine, crawling back within two after being down double-digit strokes earlier in the round. Both USC and ASU played the back nine first to build their lead, but the Dawgs stayed patient and made the comeback playing the easier side when their competitors switched to the more difficult front nine.
“We survived the front side,” said head coach Mary Lou Mulflur. “It’s just a really hard nine holes, but after we got through that we started to gain ground. We stayed incredibly patient and gutted it out. We just stuck to the game plan and never made any big mistakes.”
The Dawgs were led by SooBin Kim who is tied for the overall lead at 4-under 140. Kim was mostly responsible for the hot finish, birdying 13, 14, 15 and 18 on her way to a round of 2-under 70. She is tied with Kyung Kim of USC at the lead and one stroke better than Noemi Jimenez of Arizona State and Marijosse Navarro of Texas A&M.
“SooBin played beautiful golf,” said Mulflur. “She survived the front, but knew that the par fives on the back were reachable for her. SooBin is just playing great golf right now, really striking the ball well.”
Kim birdied all three par fives on the back and had a “bonus” birdie as Mulfur called it on the par-three 13th.
Charlotte Thomas also played well for the Huskies, firing a round of even-par 72. The Husky sophomore made three birdies and three bogeys to climb into a tie for 11th overall.
Jennifer Yang joins Kim in the top-10 overall after a 3-over 75 on Friday. Yang is at 1-over 145 after four bogeys and a bogey in the second round.
The final Husky score for the second round came from Ying Luo, firing a 3-over 75. She is now at 8-over for the tournament and tied for 38th.
Kelli Bowers shot a 5-over 77 and is now tied for 30th. She got off to a rough start, playing the first two holes at 3-over, but responded with solid play the rest of the round.
The Dawgs will go for the regional title on Saturday with the final round from Tumble Creek. Washington will be paired with USC and Arizona State beginning off the first tee at 8:36 a.m. The Huskies have not won a regional title in the program’s rich history and will have a chance to change that with a good last day in front of the home fans.