No. 7 Paladins finish third at NCAA Regional, advance to NCAA Championships
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Sophomore Natalie Srinivasan (-12) fired a final-round 68 to take third place among the individuals and help seventh-ranked Furman to a third place finish Wednesday in the final round of the NCAA Tallahassee Regional at the par-72, 6,342 yard Don Veller Seminole Golf Club in Tallahassee, Fla.
The Paladins, who will be making their third-straight and 19th overall NCAA Championship appearance, were part of an 18-team regional field that battled for a top six finish and a berth in the 24-team NCAA Championship, which will be held May 18-23 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Srinivasan, a native of Spartanburg, S.C., recorded two birdies on the front and made the turn at even par then tallied four additional birdies on the back, including consecutive birdies on No. 17 and No. 18, to finish in third place, marking her second top-5 regional finish in as many years. She finished three strokes back of individual medalist Jennifer Kupcho (-15) of Wake Forest, who carded rounds of 70-64-67=201.
Senior Jacqueline Bendrick (-7) finished under par for the third-consecutive day, marking the best three-round total of her career. She tied for ninth after posting a 70 with five birdies on Wednesday. Junior Haylee Harford (E) also carded a 70 in the final round, tying for 25th after recording five birdies, including back-to-back birdies on No. 14 and No. 15.
"I am extremely proud of this team for a third-place finish at the regional," said Furman head coach Jeff Hull, who won his second-straight SoCon Coach of the Year honor in 2018. "It got close there a little bit, but they really persevered at the end and made a lot of birdies. I am especially proud of Natalie and Jacqueline for third and ninth place finishes, respectively. I am really excited to go to nationals and, hopefully, make it to match play with a chance to win a national championship."
Second-ranked Alabama (-33) shot 15-under to pace the field on Wednesday, taking the region championship by eight strokes over host Florida State (-25), who entered the tournament ranked 28th. The Paladins (-18) finished in third place, followed by tenth-ranked Arizona (-11), and No. 15 Washington (-10). No. 18 Wake Forest (-5) and 29th-ranked Clemson (-5) tied for sixth, with the Demon Deacons winning a playoff to clinch the final championship spot.
Furman, which secured the Southern Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by capturing its 17th SoCon Championship last month at Moss Creek Country Club on Hilton Head Island, S.C., made its fourth-consecutive and 22nd overall NCAA Regional appearance. The Paladins appeared in 18-straight regionals from 1993, when the regional format began, until 2010. Furman finished second last season at the NCAA Lubbock Regional in Lubbock, Texas, and went on to place 12th at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore.
Loy shoots 73 in final round of NCAA Regional
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (May 9, 2018) – ETSU's Hee Ying Loy (Johor, Malaysia) brought her 2017-18 to an end on a high note on Wednesday, birdying her last hole in the third and final round of the NCAA Tallahassee Regional.
It was Loy’s second straight 73 at the par-72, 6342-yard Don Veller Seminole Golf Course and Club. Her three-day total of 222 put her in a tie for 49th on the leaderboard.
Of the 18 teams and six at-large players at the regional, the top six teams and top three individuals from outside those six squads advance to the National Championships in Stillwater, Okla. later this month. Loy, who made ETSU history by qualifying as an at-large invitee for the second consecutive year, finished 25thamong players not on the advancing teams.
Michaela Williams of Tennessee earned the first individual bid to Stillwater with a 207. Michaela Williams of Tennessee got the second spot at 207, and Jillian Hollis of Georgia got the second spot at 209, and Jess Yuen of Missouri claimed the third and final bid at 210, one stroke ahead of Rinko Mitsunaga of Georgia.
Alabama was the team champion, eight strokes ahead of runner-up Florida State, the host team. Filling out the rest of the top six were Furman, Arizona, Washington, and Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons earned the sixth and final trip to nationals with a one-shot win in a four-hole tiebreaker with Clemson.
On a mostly sunny, 80-degree day, Loy began her third round on the back nine and bogeyed the par-5 10th hole and bogeyed again on the par-3 13th. But she got back to even with back-to-back birdies on the par-5 15th and par-4 16th.
Loy went back into the black numbers with bogeys on the par-4 1st and par-4 3rd hole. She posted five straight pars before ending the season with a birdie on the par-4 9th.
For the tournament, Loy tied for 16th in par-5 scoring, getting through the long holes at -3 with an average score of 4.75. She tied for 39th in birdies, with eight.
Tallahassee brings to end a season in which Loy added to her status as one of ETSU’s best-ever players. Along with her second straight NCAA appearance, she made program history by securing her third consecutive berth on the All-Southern Conference team – the first Buc to earn an all-conference triple since ETSU rejoined the SoCon in 2014.