Leading up to NCAA Regionals, Arizona women’s golf coach Laura Ianello emphasized that her team needed to peak at the right time this spring.
The Wildcats did just that Wednesday, shooting a five-under par on the final round of the Stanford Regional to secure a berth at the NCAA Championship.
Arizona was under significant pressure to advance considering that the NCAA Championship is being played at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale. The Wildcats stand to benefit from being one of two in-state schools (Arizona State the other) to compete at the event, which begins May 21.
The Wildcats entered Wednesday with their spot at the NCAA Championship anything but secure. Arizona teed off in seventh place, one stroke behind Florida for the sixth and final spot to advance.
Not only did the Wildcats overtake Florida for a top-six placing, they also usurped Pac-12 rival USC to finish the regional in fifth place.
Arizona ended well behind leader Stanford (27-under par) but finished within five strokes of runner-up Virginia Tech, four back of Wake Forest and two behind Oklahoma State.
Arizona had the best third round score (279) of any team competing at NCAA Regionals, and it was in large part due to the herculean effort of junior Yu-Sang Hou.
Hou birdied three of her first four holes and ultimately finished five-under for the day (66), tying Stanford’s Angelina Ye for the best individual round across all NCAA Regionals.
Arizona’s four other golfers hovered around even for most of the day.
Sophomore Therese Warner finished one-under par, while junior Ya Chun Chang shot even. Vivian Hou, younger sister of YuSang, went one-over. Sophomore Gile Bite Starkute’s round of two-over didn’t factor into Arizona’s score.
Yu-Sang concluded the three-round regional at six-under par, the fourth best score of any individual. Vivian and Warner tied for 24th at three-over.
Arizona is one of six Pac-12 teams to qualify for the NCAA Championship, joining ASU, Stanford, USC, UCLA and Oregon.
The Wildcats are aiming for their fourth ever national title, the most recent one coming in 2018.