She did it again.
Last year the Virginia women’s golf team needed a sizzling finish by Joy Kim at the NCAA Regional to help propel the team to the NCAA Championships. Kim fired off five birdies over her final nine holes at the University of Georgia Golf Course to help the Cavaliers to a fifth-place finish.
Saturday morning Kim was just impressive in closing out her final round at this season’s NCAA East Regional Championship at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, Fla. She managed birdies on her final three holes to help Virginia earn a spot in the NCAA Championships. The Cavaliers placed fourth overall at 874 to secure one of the eight berths to the national championships.
“I went up to Joy on the 16th hole and tapped her on the back and told her we really needed her right now and darned if she didn’t go birdie, birdie, birdie,” said Virginia coach Kim Lewellen. “That’s Joy. She’s a real competitor and I think she thrives on pressure situations. She really performed well for us when it counted the most.”
“It was awesome to finish that way,” Kim said. “I was just playing okay today and on my 16th hole it just seemed to all come together. I hit the ball well and my putts went in.”
Kim finished the day at 2-over 72 and moved up to 53rd overall in the standings at 225. Virginia was led during the final round by 1-over 71 performances by Whitney Neuhauser and Calle Nielson. Neuhauser finished eighth overall at 6-over 216. Nielson was one shot behind her in 11th place.
Lene Krog carded a 3-over 73 during the final round and placed 40th overall at 225. Kristen Simpson shot 79 Saturday and was 61st at 228.
Virginia’s final round score of 7-over 287 was its best 18-hole performance during the three-day event. It was the fifth best single-round effort during the entire championship.
“We have had a tendency to play our best on the final day of tournaments this year and we did it again,” Lewellen said. “I’m happy that we played well today. We had a rough go of it at the ACCs (finishing fifth) and I think this was a good step for us. We got back into it and played like we did earlier in the year. We sort of built our confidence back up. Now we are all really looking forward to the NCAAs.”
Virginia’s appearance at the NCAA Championships will be the third in the program’s six-year history. Last year the Cavaliers placed 12th overall and were 13th in 2005. This year’s NCAA Championships take place May 19-22 at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md. Earlier this year Virginia placed third in a field of 15 at the Fall Preview played at Caves Valley.
Denver used a final round 1-under 279 to win the East Regional at 862. Alabama was second at 866 followed by Tennessee at 873. Also advancing to the NCAAs were Tulane (876), Duke (881), North Carolina (881) and Georgia (889). East Carolina, which led after the first round, finished ninth at 892. Auburn, the No. 2 seed in the field behind the Cavaliers, was 10th at 893. Denver’s Dawn Shockley took medalist honors by one shot, finishing at 1-under 209.NCAA East Regional Championship
Mark Bostick Golf Course at the University of Florida
Par-70, 6,023 yards
1. Denver (20) 287-296-279-862
2. Alabama (6) 284-291-291-866
3. Tennessee (27) 292-293-288-873
4. Virginia (3) 290-297-287-874
5. Tulane (31) 292-296-288-876
6. Duke (12) 298-293-290-881
6. North Carolina (10) 291-303-287-881
8. Georgia (14) 297-295-297-889
9. East Carolina (37) 283-313-296-892
10. Auburn (7) 304-294-295-893
11. Vanderbilt (23) 286-299-309-894
12. South Carolina (43) 308-290-299-897
13. Coastal Carolina 301-297-300-898
14. Furman (46) 305-290-308-903
15. Florida State 307-297-303-907
16. Florida (30) 305-301-302-908
17. Mississippi (38) 307-293-309-909
17. Central Florida 309-302-298-909
17. Stetson 309-303-304-916
20. College of Charleston (50) 302-310-312-924
21. Jackson State 324-336-330-990
Number in parenthesis is Golfstat ranking
1. Dawn Shockley, Denver 73-70-66-209
2. Stephanie Connelly, UCF 73-69-68-210
3. Camilla Lennarth, Alabama 69-70-73-212
3. Nathalie Mansson, Tennessee 69-72-71-212
5. Marina Alex, Vanderbilt 69-72-73-214
5. Katie Kempter, Denver 69-77-68-214
7. Brooke Pancake, Alabama 70-72-73-215
8. Whitney Neuhauser, Virginia 71-74-71-216
8. Candace Schepperle, Auburn 71-70-75-216
8. Stephanie Sherlock, Denver 69-70-73-216
8. Whitney Neuhauser 71-74-71-216
11. Calle Nielson 72-74-71-217
40. Lene Krog 73-77-73-223
53. Joy Kim 74-79-72-225
61. Kristen Simpson 77-72-79-228