Arizona beats Baylor in playoff to advance to championship match play

Senior Amy Lee participates in round three of the 2017 NCAA Women's Golf National Championship as a junior on May 21. Lee and the team will look to bring Baylor a National Championship this weekend. Photo Credit | Baylor Athletics

By Nathan Keil | Sports Editor

Baylor women’s golf finished in a tie for eighth place at the 2018 National Championships at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla. Monday night.

The Lady Bears finished tied with the University of Arizona with a final score of 1185 over the four day tournament.

In the tournament’s format, the top eight teams advanced to match play, so Baylor and Arizona participated in a playoff.

Arizona forced the playoff when the Wildcats’ Bianca Pagdangan sunk an eagle putt on the 18th hole to force the playoff.

Arizona then birdied the second playoff hole, eliminating Baylor from the championships and stamping its spot against top-seeded UCLA.

Baylor head coach Jay Goble said that the Lady Bears grew tremendously from the start of the spring season and that is an accomplishment of itself.

“The last six weeks, I have nothing but admiration and love and respect for the way that they’ve played and handled themselves and worked hard,” Goble said. “We became a team the last six weeks or so. They fought to the very end. If you would have told me after Palos Verdes in February that we were going to finish eighth at the national championship, I would have told you that you were crazy. And we did.”

As a team, Baylor struggled in round one, shooting a 25 over par, 313 to put itself just four spots from the bottom of the leaderboard.

But the Lady Bears continued to claw their way back into the competition, moving up five spots after day two’s seven over par, 295. Baylor moved up six more spots and into 10th place overall after day three, shooting a one under par, 287.

Goble said his teams’ competitiveness and effort after its rough first day was remarkable.

“It was great. After the first round, there’s nothing left to do but go out there and be aggressive and trust in yourself,” Goble said. “It’s an easy thing to say, it’s a hard thing to actually do, and they did it. They went out there and they trusted themselves and made really great golf swings and played awesome. We shot 25-over the first day and for the tournament we were 33 (over). This is not a golf course where you do that. For them to shoot 8-over the last three rounds is so good. Again, I think that shows people how good we really are, but we weren’t trying to go out there and prove that to anybody. We just wanted to go out there and compete, and we did.”

Baylor finished the tournament with a two over par, 290 on day four, shooting them into eighth place, but the Arizona eagle shot the Wildcats into position where they would eventually end the Lady Bears’ season.

In match play, Arizona will take on UCLA, Alabama gets Kent State, USC takes on Duke and Stanford meets Northwestern.

Individually, it was freshman Gurleen Kaur leading the way for the Lady Bears. Kaur jumped 10 spots on the final day, shooting a four under, 68 to finish tied for seventh with a final score of 287.

Similar to the team, Kaur got off to a rough start, shooting a seven over, 79 on day one, but was under par the rest of the tournament, shooting one under, 71, three under, 69 and her four under par to end it.

Senior Amy Lee was next for Baylor on the leaderboard, finishing tied for 33rd with a six over par, 294. Lee shot a 76 on day one, 72 on days two and three and a 74 to close out her tournament.

Junior Maria Vesga finished tied for 52nd with a 13 over par, 301. Vesga shot an 80 on day one, 74 on days two and three and a 73 to round out the championship.

Freshman Diana Baillieux finished tied for 62nd with a 17 over par, 305, while sophomore Fiona Liddell was tied for 67th with a 20 over par, 308.

Wake Forest’s Jennifer Kupcho took the top spot, shooting an eight under 280 for the tournament. Stanford’s Andrea Lee and Arizona’s Pagdangana finished tied for second with a six under. Alabama’s Cheyenne Knight was fourth at five under par and Florida State’s Morgane Metraux and Ohio State’s Jaclyn Lee round out the top five, finishing at four under par.

The match play championship runs all day today and tomorrow.