Comfortable Huskies Move Up Championship Leaderboard
May 20, 2011
BRYAN, Texas -- It took three rounds, but the Washington women's golf team is finally at ease in the Lone Star State. The Huskies shot their tournament best 297 (+9) on Friday in the NCAA Championship at Texas A&M's Traditions Golf Club, besting their previous low round by 10 strokes.
"The fact that we're improving each day ... I think that just shows we're getting more comfortable," said UW head coach Mary Lou Mulflur about her team which moved up four spots on the leaderboard from 23 to 19th.
"We're starting to believe that we belong here."
For the first time during the tournament, all five Huskies shot in the 70's and each golfer had their best round in three days of action. Each Husky had exactly three birdies, just two days after the five combined for three total birdies in the first round.
The wind was blowing feverishly during the morning, but the Huskies were able to remain undeterred. Alvarez credits focus and belief in club selection for her personal success.
"It's really easy to get impatient in the wind," said Alvarez, who will be playing in her final tournament as a Husky on Saturday. "I focused on not changing my swing and just added a club if the wind was in my face or went with less club if the wind was at my back. I focused on that instead of trying to get too cute with shots and that really helped my round today."
The Huskies teed off from No. 10 and Alvarez started her day with a birdie. She bogeyed No. 12 and 14 but responded with a birdie on No. 18 to get back to even. She made pars on the next six holes before notching a final birdie on the par-3 seventh hole.
Alvarez entered the clubhouse at +6 overall (222) and is tied for 26th.
Bowers started her round on fire, thanks in large part to her dependable putter. She birdied 11 and 14 to get to -2 for the day and then converted long par-saving putts on No. 15 and 16. It was at that point that Bowers realized her putter was on fire and could help her shoot a solid round.
"When you make those par putts, it just makes the birdie putts that much easier," said Bowers, who is 9-over (225) for the tournament and tied for 42nd. "The putter was definitely working today, especially in the beginning and it just gave me confidence for the day and gave me a good feeling."
Dickinson is third among Huskies at +17, Parks is +20 overall and Choi +31. Each bounced back from extremely tough first and second rounds, leaving Mulflur with good feelings as the Huskies head to Saturday's final round.
"Everybody is improving each day, so that is a good sign. If we can just improve a little bit more tomorrow, then that will be a good way to finish out the year," said Mulflur.
While Washington is out of the running for the national title, its Pac-10 brethern UCLA leads the hunt for the championship. The Bruins are +13 overall and were +5 for the day before darkness shut the round down before it was completed. Defending national champion Purdue is second, currently six strokes back of the Bruins.
Tiffany Lau of UCLA is leading the race for individual medalist honors. She was -3 through 14 holes and holds a three stroke lead over Georgia's Marta Silva Zamora.
The Huskies will tee off at 8:30 a.m. (CT) for the final round.
Live scoring can be followed at NCAA.com and a live video stream is also available on the website.
Thunderstorms delayed play for almost two hours in the afternoon forcing the start of Saturday's final round to be pushed back by 30 minutes.