May 13, 2006
Brown Summit, NC -
The 20th-ranked Virginia women's golf team pulled off a remarkable comeback on the final day of the NCAA East Regional Championships, only to lose to Alabama in a one-hole playoff for the tournament's final berth to the national championships.
It was not all disappointing news for the Cavaliers. Junior Leah Wigger qualified for the NCAAs as an individual by placing sixth overall thanks to a strong final-round performance.
Entering the final round in 11th place the Cavaliers posted a 3-over 291, their best single-round score during the 54-hole event, to pull into a tie for eighth place with the Crimson Tide at 23-over 887. Only the top eight teams in the 21-school field advance to the NCAA Championships at Ohio State May 23-26.
Alabama won the one-hole playoff after the five Crimson Tide players combined for four pars and a bogey while the Cavalier players posted three pars and two bogeys.
"Our kids did a great job of playing themselves back into it during the final round," said Virginia coach Jan Mann. "We were close, but we just could not make it happen. It is disappointing, but we'll make it happen next year."
The Cavaliers return all five players who competed at this year's regional championship where Virginia was the seventh seeded team.
Wigger, an All-ACC performer, paced the Cavaliers during the final round. She shot 3-under 69 to finish sixth overall and post her ninth top-10 finish in 10 outings this season. Wigger's score was the best single round by a UVa golfer this season. Her tournament finish of 1-under 215 was also the best score on the team this year.
Wigger had six birdies, a bogies and a double bogie during her round.
Rachel Smith, who finished 12th overall at 1-over 217, was one of three Cavaliers to shoot 2-over 74 during the final round. Lauren Mielbrecht and Jennie Arseneault also shot 74. Mielbrecht's round included a critical birdie on her final hole that helped to force the playoff. Mielbrecht placed 61st overall at 227 while Arseneault, who enrolled at UVa in January, was 80th at 229. Carly Truitt shot 78 during the final round to finish 92nd at 234.
Tennessee won the regional by six shots thanks to a final round 2-under 286. The Lady Vols earned one of the top seeds at the NCAA Championships by finishing at even par 864. LSU was second at 870 and California was third at 874. Florida State and Arizona State tied for fourth at 878 and Auburn (879) and Wake Forest (883) picked up the other two spots in the NCAA Championships field.
Tennessee's Marci Turner took medalist honors at 7-under 209 while Arizona State's Alissa Kuczka used a final round 68 to move up to second at 211.
Last year the Cavaliers placed fifth at the East Regional and went on to a 13th-place showing at the NCAAs. Wigger was second overall at 3-over 287.
Updated scoring of the regional championships can be found on the Internet at www.golfstat.com. Video highlights of each day of play are available at www.golfweek.com.
Other Regional Qualifers
1. Southern California (883), 2. Duke (885), 3. Pepperdine (903), 4. Florida (910), 5. Oklahoma State (916), 6. Texas A&M (919), 6. Kent State (919), 8. Nebraska (922).
1. Purdue (881), 2. UCLA (887), 3. Washington (888), 4. Stanford (896), 5. Georgia (900), 6. UNLV (904), 7. Arizona (910), 8. Arkansas (911).
NCAA East Regional Championship
Bryan Park Golf Course
Brown Summit, NC
Par 72, 6,386 yards
1. Tennessee 292-286-286-864
2. LSU 288-288-294-870
3. California 288-295-291-874
4. Florida State 297-289-292-878
4. Arizona State 307-284-287-878
6. Auburn 293-301-285-879
7. Wake Forest 296-293-294-883
8. Alabama* 295-293-299-887
8. Virginia 303-293-291-887
10. North Carolina 296-296-297-889
10. Augusta State 308-293-290-891
12. Vanderbilt 296-300-295-891
14. South Carolina 296-297-304-897
13. Maryland 305-294-299-898
15. Col. of Charleston 309-292-298-899
16. NC State 303-301-302-906
17. Furman 298-308-304-910
18. Campbell 308-302-301-911
19. East Carolina 313-295-308-916
20 Yale. 308-296-315-919
21. Mississippi State 313-304-308-925
* Wins playoff for final berth to NCAA Championships
1. Marci Turner, Tennessee 70-70-69-209
2. Alissa Kuczka, Arizona State 75-68-68-211
3. Mandy Goins, Wake Forest 70-70-73-213
3. Carolina Westrup, Florida St. 71-72-70-213
5. Caroline Martens, LSU 73-68-73-214
6. Allison Goodman, California 71-72-72-215
6. Lauren Smith, August State 70-72-73-215
6. Jenny Suh, Alabama 69-70-76-215
6. Leah Wigger, Virginia 74-72-69-215
10. Sofie Andersson, California 71-72-73-216
10. Jacqui Concolino, Vanderbilt 71-73-72-216
6. Leah Wigger 74-72-69-215
12. Rachel Smith 71-72-74-217
61. Lauren Mielbrecht 80-73-74-227
80. Jennie Arseneault 78-77-74-229
92. Carly Truitt 80-76-78-234