Auburn, WA -
The sixth-ranked Virginia women's golf team earned a fourth straight trip to the NCAA Championships Saturday following a third-place finish at the NCAA West Regional Championships at Washington National Golf Club. Virginia shot 8-over 296 during the final round of the 54-hole tournament to tie No. 22 UC Davis at 23-over 887. The top eight teams from each of three regional sites advance to the NCAA Championships May 18-21 at Bryan, Texas.
"To pack up, travel out to the northwest, play a course none of us had seen, and do so in cool and wet conditions, I could not be more proud of the girls this week," said Virginia coach Kim Lewellen. "They were patient, really did a good job of playing consistent golf, team golf, and now they get to go compete for the national championship. That was the goal all season and they did a terrific job of making it happen."
Virginia was led in the final round by senior Calle Nielson, who shot 2-under 70 and finished the regional in fourth place at even par 216. Last year Nielson won the West Regional held at Stanford. Classmate Joy Kim shot 3-over 75 during the final round to finish 18th at 7-over 223.
"I was very happy to see our two seniors really perform well on such a large stage," Lewellen said. "There is an a lot of pressure at this point of the season and they did a great job of playing poised and really helping the team."
Sophomore Brittany Altomare rebounded for her best 18-holes of the event, finishing with a 1-over 73. She posted a 54-hole total of 10-over 226 to place 25th. Freshman Portland Rosen shot 79 during the final round and finished 37th at 228. Sophomore Nicole Agnello carded a final round score of 78 to conclude play in 63rd place at 18-over 234.
Top-ranked USC won the regional with a three-day total of 2-over 866. Tennessee was second at 876. The other teams to qualify through to the NCAA Championships were Arizona (895), South Carolina (902), Washington (905) and Texas A&M (908).
The Lady Vols' Eric Popson ran away with the individual title, shooting 8-under 208. It was her fourth consecutive tournament victory. USC's Lizette Salas was second at 3-under 213.
Virginia's appearance in the NCAA Championships will be the fifth in the eight-year history of the program. Last year the Cavaliers were 13th at the NCAAs. Altomare led the team with a 15th-place finish to cap her freshman season.
The Cavaliers are one of seven teams to advance to the NCAAs for the fourth consecutive season. That list includes Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Purdue, UCLA and USC.
Teams advancing from the East Regional include: Alabama, North Carolina, Arizona State, Coastal Carolina, California, Purdue, Florida and Vanderbilt. The teams that qualified from the Central Regional were: UCLA, LSU, Minnesota, Arkansas, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Stanford and Wake Forest.
NCAA West Regional Championship
Washington National Golf Club
Par-72, 6,266 yards
1. USC (1) 288-284-294-866
2. Tennessee (13) 292-287-297-876
3. Virginia (6) 290-301-296-887
3. UC Davis (23) 300-292-295-887
5. Arizona (7) 303-293-299-895
6. South Carolina (36) 303-299-300-902
7. Washington (38) 304-294-307-905
8. Texas A&M (27) 301-302-305-908
9. Oregon (33) 302-301-306-909
10. Iowa State (15) 304-306-302-913
11. Oklahoma (28) 316-300-301-917
12. Brigham Young (51) 303-311-304-918
13. Denver (47) 307-307-306-920
14. Georgia (12) 314-303-309-926
15. Pepperdine (19) 316-299-314-931
16. Texas-San Antonio (57) 311-313-313-937
17. San Diego State (49) 310-311-317-938
18. Tulsa (42) 310-315-325-940
19. New Mexico (52) 310-318-313-941
20. Portland State (60) 305-311-326-942
21. New Mexico State (64) 318-315-320-954
21. Oral Roberts (88) 319-314-320-954
23. San Jose State (71) 315-316-326-957
24. UTEP (97) 321-324-338-983
Note: number is parenthesis is Golfstat ranking
1. Erica Popson, Tennessee 68-69-71-208
2. Lizette Salas, USC 73-67-73-213
3. Sophia Popov, USC 69-73-73-215
4. Calle Nielson, Virginia 72-74-70-216
5. Demi Runas, UC Davis 69-72-76-217
5. Katerina Ruzickova, Texas A&M 73-75-69-217
7. Alice Kim, UC Davis 80-72-66-218
7. Rachel Morris, USC 73-71-74-218
9. Isabelle Boineau, Arizona 75-70-74-219
9. Marta Silva Zamora, Georgia 75-73-71-219
4. Calle Nielson 72-74-70-216
18. Joy Kim 72-76-75-223
25. Brittany Altomare 74-79-73-226
37. Portland Rosen 72-77-79-228
63. Nicole Agnello 82-74-78-234