May 12, 2012
NORMAN, Okla -- The University of Oklahoma women's golf team advanced to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2002 by finishing in eighth place at the three-round, 24-team NCAA West Regional Saturday in Erie, Colo. The Sooners, who were in 18th place after Thursday's first round, shot a third-round 289 (+1) Saturday afternoon at the Colorado National Golf Course and were the final squad to qualify for the NCAA finals, finishing three shots ahead of ninth-place California and Texas Tech.
The NCAA Championships appearance will be the fifth in the history of the OU women's golf program.
Oklahoma, which was coming off a Big 12 Championship performance two weeks ago, fired a 305 in Thursday's opening round to finish the day in 18th place and had to play catch-up the rest of the tournament. OU shot a 296 in the second round Friday to climb into 14th place and entered the final round four strokes out of the top eight. The team's final-round 289 was the fifth-best effort of the day.
"I am so proud of the way the girls fought all day," said OU head coach Veronique Drouin-Luttrell. "We knew we needed to play well and the girls came out ready to go. Today was huge for Oklahoma Women's Golf. We showed that we belong with the best teams in the country."
OU was led by Chirapat Jao-Javanil, who fired a 2-under 70 on Saturday with the help of four birdies to finish the tournament in fifth place out of 126 competitors. The sophomore, who played her final 11 holes at 3 under par, improved upon her second round score by three strokes. It marked Jao-Javanil's fifth top-five finish of the season and fourth in the last five events.
"It is awesome that we made it to nationals," said Jao-Javanil, who is from Thailand. "Today was cold but we were mentally prepared and that helped a lot. Our coaches were very supportive and helped us through the round. I am happy with how I played and how we finished as a team. Everyone has been working so hard and we just have to keep going."
Sophomore Anne-Catherine Tanguay turned in a consistently strong final round, recording 15 pars, two birdies and only one bogey (came on the 18th hole). Tanguay began the round in a tie for 30th place but climbed up the leaderboard to finish in a tie for 16th thanks to her 1-under 71. It was her seventh top-20 finish of the season.
Junior Taylor Schmidt came up big on Saturday. Schmidt stood at +17 entering the final round but bounced back with a 1-over 73. She ended the tournament in 98th place with a 54-hole total of 234 (+18).
Junior Jacki Marshall carded three birdies Saturday en route to a final-round 75 (+3) to bring her 54-hole total to 228 (+12). Marshall turned in the Sooners' best score of the second round and finished the tournament in a tie for 61st place.
Sophomore Emily Collins registered a third-round 79 (+7) and finished the tournament tied for 96th place with a 233 (+17).
Top ranked UCLA and LSU tied for first place, finishing two strokes ahead of third-place Pepperdine. Other schools that qualified for the NCAA Championships out of the West Regional were Colorado (fourth place), Baylor (fifth), Stanford (sixth) and North Carolina (seventh).
"We have only one week to prepare and be ready to play in the national championship," said Drouin. "So we will head back home and continue to prepare to play against tough competition."
The NCAA Championships will be held May 22-25 at the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn.