TULSA, Okla. -- The University of Oklahoma women’s golf team held a three-stroke lead entering Thursday's play at the 24-team NCAA Championships but fell to third place after shooting a third-round 291 (+11). The Sooners are 10 strokes behind first-place Duke with one round remaining at the 6,194-yard, par-70 Tulsa Country Club.
Seeking its first women’s golf national title, OU is just four strokes behind second-place and top-ranked USC. It leads fourth-place and second-ranked UCLA by one shot. The Sooners are +26 for the tournament (866).
Seniors Kaitlyn Rohrback and Chirapat Jao-Javanil carried the Sooners on Thursday, each firing a tournament-best 1-over-par 71. Jao-Javanil, who was tied for 38th place after the second round, moved up 11 spots to a tie for 27th place at 218 (+8). Rohrback’s round, which was seven shots better than each of her first two rounds, helped her climb 12 spots on the leaderboard to a tie for 90th place at 227 (+17).
“I got to 4-over through six holes and I just knew my team needed me,” Rohrback said. “If there was ever a time to grind it out and come up with some birdies this would be it. I just started really feeling my putter, and I made some really good putts and some really good birdies and dropped a couple long ones. I just kept it together.”
Sooner Emily Collins logged a 74 (+4) on the day and is at 223 (+13) for the tournament. Collins bogeyed her first two holes but parred 14 of her last 16 holes. The senior dropped 15 spots on the leaderboard to a tie for 65th place.
OU senior Anne-Catherine Tanguay logged a 75 (+5) on the day and fell 17 spots on the leaderboard to a tie for 35th place at 219 (+9).
Freshman Alexandra Kaui, who led the 126-player field through the first two rounds, dropped to a tie for 16th place after shooting a third-round 80 (+10). Kaui, who was at +11 through 17 holes, recorded her only birdie of the round on hole 18.
“There’s still one more round to go, and Alex is such a good player,” Rohrback said. “She just needs to stay positive and know that’s not her game. She’s better than that. I’m sure she’ll go out there tomorrow and light it up.”
Fifth-year OU head coach Veronique Drouin-Luttrell echoed Rohrback and said the Sooners need to focus on the season’s final round.
“It was a little tough for us today, but we’re still right there,” Drouin-Luttrell said. “We have to move on. We have 18 holes to play tomorrow and anything can happen. With four seniors it’s nice for us to have this kind of experience. This is the first time we’ve been in contention at nationals, but for us its just another tournament. We’re here to play and at the end of the day we’re going to add up our score and hopefully it will be close to the top.”
The Sooners will tee off in the final round of the NCAA Championships Friday starting at 12:26 p.m. CT on hole 1. OU will be paired with Duke and USC. Live stats are available at NCAA.com.