UW Women's Golf Advances To First NCAA Championship Since 2006
May 7, 2011
AUBURN, Wash. -- Not even a heavy downpour could dampen the spirits of the Husky women's golf team on Saturday at Washington National Golf Club. For the first time since 2006, the Huskies advanced to the NCAA Women's Golf Championship after finishing seventh at their home course in the West Regional.
Washington fired a 307 (+19) on Saturday to finish at 905 (+41), three strokes ahead of eighth-place Texas A&M. The top eight teams from each of the three regionals advance to the championship, which will be held at the Legends Course in Bryan, Texas from May 18-21.
USC won the team title, ending up at +2 overall (866). The Trojans beat Tennessee by 10 strokes. Also advancing from the West are Virginia (+23), UC Davis (+23), Arizona (+31), South Carolina (+38), Washington (+41) and Texas A&M (+44).
Tennessee's Erica Popson claimed medalist honors, finishing at -8 (208) to win by five strokes over USC's Lizette Salas. The win was Popson's fourth-straight first-place finish, one which she lost in a playoff.
Marta Silva Zamora of Georgia (+3, T9th) and Amy Anderson of North Dakota State (+5, T11th) each advanced as individual players.
The Huskies had some tense moments towards the end of their round that raised the blood pressure of all those following the local team. Washington was at +43 with three golfers on the course, while Texas A&M sat in the clubhouse along with Oregon, who sat at +45 and just outside the cutline.
Birdies on the next-to-last hole by Anya Alvarez and Sadena Parks put the Dawgs at +41 where they would ultimately finish and let Huskies' head coach Mary Lou Mulflur and her team breathe easier as they wrapped up the round.
"It was a struggle all day, but they just hung in there," said Mulflur, who will lead Washington to its ninth NCAA Championship in 28 years as head coach. "We had a one-shot cushion and we still had two players with three holes to go. That basically means you can't make a mistake, and the weather was not exactly great.
"Anya and Sadena's birdies at No. 8...that was huge. That gave us a little bit of a cushion coming in. It was a great finish. We needed every one of those shots."
While Alvarez and Parks saved the day, it was Karinn Dickinson that was the UW's MVP for the round. The senior from Mulkiteo, Wash. started her round with a triple-bogey seven on her first hole - No. 10 for the Huskies - but was -1 the rest of the way. For Dickinson, the quick turnaround was a huge relief.
"I am very proud because I have been struggling lately, and I didn't want this to be my last round. Even after the first hole, I was like not going to give up, keep fighting because I only want to go to Texas. I kept my head up," said Dickinson, who finished tied for 41st overall.
Washington last moved onto the NCAA Championship after finishing third at the 2006 Regional, also played at Washington National Golf Course. For Mulflur and the Huskies, it was not an easy path to make it back to the championship and it will be a first-time experience for her entire roster.
"None of them have experienced it," said Mulflur. "We wanted it so bad for Anya and Karinn because they have never gotten to go. We've had some bumps, I'm not going to lie. They have just found a way ... and got it done when they absolutely needed to."
Parks was the Huskies' top finisher in the tournament at +8 overall (224). She fired a 77 (+5) on Saturday and ended up tied for 22nd.
Alvarez was next on the leaderboard at +10 overall to finish tied for 25th. She shot a 78 in the final round.