STILLWATER, OK - The Arizona women's golf team finished tied for eight place and advanced to match play after a playoff with Baylor at the NCAA Championships at Karsten Creek Golf Club. The Cats will face UCLA in the quarterfinal matchup on Tuesday morning at 7:50 a.m. CT/5:50 a.m. MST.
The Wildcats finished the fourth round tied with Baylor at 33-over par for the eighth and final spot in the top 8 that advance to match play. In the playoff format all five players play a different hole and the four best scores to par move on. In the first playoff holes, Arizona and Baylor each had four pars. In the second playoff hole Bianca Pagdanganan birdied the 12th hole, then Yu-Sang Hou rolled in a long birdie putt on No. 18 to clinch the playoff victory for the Cats.
"I think this team was so amazed with how Bianca's effort pulled us in to this playoff to begin with," said head coach Laura Ianello. "We played awful as a team today, but who cares. We had a chance. I told the team if I told you today that we had a chance to get into match play, would you have taken it, they said yeah. Anything can happen in match play. I'm really proud of how the ladies performed in the playoff."
Pagdanganan finished tied for second at 6-under par after an even par round of 72 in her fourth round. With Arizona down two strokes to Baylor with only Pagdanganan left to play, she eagled the 18th hole with a long putt to force the playoff. Pagdanganan earned her fourth top-10 finish of the season and has now shot at par better in 18 of her 35 rounds this season.
"Everything that coach said was to play your best two holes of your life," said Pagdanganan. "So I was going try to keep steady. Hit the greens, make putts. Going into this last hole, my second shot, I felt very confident. For some reason, I felt this adrenaline. I was like, 'I'm going to get this on the green.' And when I got it on the green, even more confidence. Just seeing my team there on the last hole, it was amazing. Even if I didn't know what was going on. But when I stood over that putt, I just knew that it was going in. I just had so much confidence in myself and it was an amazing feeling knowing it means so much for the team."
Freshman Yu-Sang Hou tied for 48th place at 11-over par after posting a round of 79 in her final round. Sophomore Sandra Nordaas finished the tournament at 13-over par and earned a tie for 52nd place. Junior Haley Moore carded a 5-over par round of 77 and finished tied for 56th place. Junior Gigi Stoll tied for 76th place after a fourth round score of 83.
Jennifer Kupcho of Wake Forest is the individual national champion after finishing the tournament at 8-under par, finishing two shots ahead of Andrea Lee of Stanford and Pagdanganan.
The Cats will be making their second appearance in match play at the NCAA Championships since the format changed in 2015.
T1. UCLA (294-279-297-291=1161, +9)
T1. Alabama (292-286-284-299=1161, +9)
3. USC (291-298-296-283=1168, +16)
4. Northwestern (299-293-290-291=1173, +21)
5. Stanford (308-291-291-290=1180, +28)
6. Duke (298-298-293-293=1182, +30)
7. Kent State (296-299-296-293=1184, +32)
8. Arizona (301-291-288-305=1185, +33)
T2. Pagdanganan (71-68-71-72=282, -6)
T48. Hou (74-71-75-79=299, +11)
T52. Nordaas (78-76-70-77=301, +13)
T56. Moore (78-76-72-77=303, +15)
T76. Stoll (78-77-77-83=315, +27)
Match Play Pairings
1. UCLA vs. 8 Arizona
2. Alabama vs. 7. Kent State
3. USC vs. 6. Duke
4. Northwestern vs. 5 Stanford
*all times CST