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Arizona women’s golf beats Alabama to win national championship

Haley Moore sank a clutch putt in extras to lead the Wildcats to their third national title

Golf Channel

They did it. They really did it.

The Arizona women’s golf team completed its magical postseason run Wednesday by downing No. 2 seed Alabama 3-2 in the national championship match in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Haley Moore sank a birdie putt in an extra hole to secure the trophy.

It’s Arizona women’s golf’s third ever title, with the last two coming in 2000 and 1996. It’s Arizona’s first national championship as a whole since the 2012 College World Series.

The Wildcats become the first No. 8 seed to ever win the title.

Arizona freshman Yu-Sang Hou handily beat Alabama’s Lauren Stephenson, a three-time first-team All-American, 4&3.

Alabama’s Kristen Gillman, ranked 14th in the world, beat Arizona’s Gigi Stoll 4&3.

Arizona’s Bianca Pagdanganan led by one through nine holes, but lost three holes in a row and wound up losing to Cheyenne Knight 4&2.

Arizona’s Sandra Nordaas led Angelica Moresco the entire day, but Moresco sank a birdie putt on 17 to shrink the deficit to one heading into the final hole.

Nordaas sank a par putt to hold off Moresco on 18, leaving the match up to Arizona junior Haley Moore who was all-square with Alabama’s Lakareber Abe through 16 holes.

Abe shanked her drive on 17 into the weeds and couldn’t find her ball, eventually opting for a drop. Moore parred the hole, which was enough to win it and take a one-hole lead with one to play.

Abe opened 18 with an incredible drive that bounced through the rough onto the green, and she was able to two-putt for a birdie to extend the match.

Abe and Moore replayed 18, and Abe nearly chipped in for birdie to walk it off. Moore matched it with her own well-placed chip, setting up both players for nearly equidistant birdie putts.

Abe missed hers. Moore didn’t.

“It means so much,” Moore said on the Golf Channel afterward. “It’s actually like a dream.”

That Arizona was even in the national championship match was improbable. Bianca Pagdanganan sank a difficult eagle putt to propel the Wildcats into a playoff vs. Baylor, which they’d win to earn the No. 8 seed in the quarterfinals.

Arizona then upset No. 1-seed UCLA and No. 5-seed Stanford on Tuesday to set the stage with Alabama, whose big three of Stephenson, Gillman, and Knight — all ranked in the top-14 nationally — were 6-0 in match-play entering the championship match.

But as they say, anything can happen in match-play, and the Wildcats saved their best golf for last.

And they’re not done — all five golfers that competed for Arizona in the NCAA Tournament are underclassmen. So they can do this all over again next spring.

Golf. School.