May 7, 2011
South Bend, IN -
The No. 2 ranked UCLA women's golf team led wire-to-wire and took home the NCAA Central Regional title, winning by four strokes over second place LSU. With the win, the Bruins also earned their 11th straight NCAA Championship berth, a school record.
The victory is Coach Carrie Forsyth's 39th win as UCLA head coach and the fifth tournament win for the Bruins this year. This also marks the sixth time in Forsyth's tenure that the Bruins have won the NCAA Regional title, with the team winning in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009.
The Bruins shot a final round 298 (+10), giving them a total score of 890 (+26). As mentioned before, they finished four strokes ahead second place LSU, who posted a final round 296 (+8) to finish at 894 (+30). The two teams will move onto the NCAA Championship in College Station, TX along with the following teams: Minnesota, Arkansas, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Stanford and Wake Forest.
"I am proud of the girls," Coach Forsyth said. "This is a tough course, but I think we played it really well. I think all of the girls had times where they were excellent. We didn't quite put it all together, but we still won, and that's pretty neat, but we can do better. It was tough out there today, with a few girls missing putts, but overall it's great to have come here and not had to deal with a lot of stress."
Individually, junior Stephanie Kono fired the low round of the day, shooting a final round 68 (-4) to end the day in a tie for first place at 218 (+2). Kono birdied the 17th and 18th holes to earn co-medalist honors with LSU's Megan McChrystal, the No. 1 ranked player in the country according to Golfstat. This was Stephanie's first win of the year and her fourth top five finish.
"I thought I played really well today," Kono said of her round. "I hit a lot of really good shots and gave myself a lot of birdie opportunities. I converted a lot of those opportunities. I had felt really good the past two days, but it was disappointing that my score didn't show it. I knew I had today to show what I have and to put it all together, and it seemed like a few more putts were dropping."
Forsyth added, "That was really awesome. She has been on the verge lately of shooting some good golf, and I had actually just been talking to my sister about how we needed someone to really take us low on a round, and then (Stephanie) shot a 68 and I was like `OK, there we go.'"
As for the rest of the Bruins, Ani Gulugian shot a 78 (+6) for her round to give her an overall score of 223 (+7), good for a tie for 8th place. Sophomore Lee Lopez and senior Glory Yang finished tied for 27th place after they posted 75 (+3) and 78 (+6) respectively to give them a total of 227 (+11). Finally, sophomore Tiffany Lua shot a final round 77 (+5) to give her an overall score of 232 (+16), good for a tie for 56th place.
The Bruins will be back out on the course for the final time this year from Wednesday, May 18th to Saturday, May 21st at the NCAA Championship in College Station, TX at the Traditions Golf Course. UCLA played this course earlier in the year at the Fall Preview back in September, finishing in 7th place.
"I think that everybody has things they need to work on," remarked Forsyth. "At the end of the day, we need to be more consistent. We know what we can do as players, but we have to put it together for four rounds, and that is challenging. I feel good about where we are, and we can use this next week to prepare well and go into that tournament really ready to be consistent and shoot the numbers that need to be shot to get it done."
Kono added, "I think our team has a lot of talented players and we are all really good, and we have been waiting to peak. Hopefully we will all be able to play at a high level in two weeks."
For complete results from the NCAA Central Regional, click here.