NCAA Madison Regional – LIVE Leaderboard (via Golfstat)
Senior Sarah Cho carded a team-best 2-under 70 to find herself in the Top-8 heading into Wednesday’s final round. She leads the team with eight birdies, including five on Tuesday, four of which came in a torrid nine-hole stretch from Nos. 7-15. The San Diego native was Northwestern’s top finisher at last year’s NCAA Athens Regional, earning a Top-5 finish with a 2-under 214 to held lead the Wildcats to a runner-up result.
Junior Stephanie Lau matched Cho’s effort on Tuesday with a 70 of her own, rising 24 spots up the leaderboard during the day. The Fullerton, California, native’s day was highlighted by back-to-back birdies on Nos. 12 and 13, the former a tricky, 177-yard downhill Par-3.
Lau finished the round in a tie for 38th with senior Hannah Kim, who polished off her a 1-under 71 with a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 18.
Brooke Riley is turning in one of the field’s most consistent performances thus far in her NCAA postseason debut. The sophomore has a team-best 27 pars after two days, which ranks fourth in the competition. She signed an even-par 72 on Tuesday to head into Wednesday’s final round in a tie for 16th at 1-under.
Conditions on Tuesday were exceptional, with temperatures in the low-70’s, bright sunshine and wind speeds that only sparingly reached double-digits.
The Wildcats second round 5-under 283 was the second-best round of the day, and the third-best round in the field during the first two days of competition. The score equals Northwestern’s best-ever NCAA postseason round, a final-round 283 at last year’s Athens Regional. The ‘Cats have now carded their two best team rounds of the season in the last three rounds, with the other coming in Round 3 of the Big Ten Championships.
After 36 holes, Northwestern is locked in a tie for the coveted sixth-spot with Illinois and Ohio State, the team’s playing partners during Tuesday’s second round. The Big Ten trio are just three strokes behind Arizona State and Oregon for fourth.
The Wildcats will be paired with the Buckeyes and Iowa State Cyclones for Wednesday’s final round, with Janet Mao leading off from No. 1 at 8 a.m., followed by Lau, Kim, Riley and Cho in nine-minute increments.
The best six teams and three individuals not on those teams from each of the four NCAA Regional sites (Madison, Austin, Tallahassee, San Francisco) will advance to the 2018 NCAA Championships. The NCAA Championships will be held May 18-23 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla. The final three days of competition will be televised live by the Golf Channel.
Northwestern – T6/18 • 294-283-R3 = 577 (+1)
T8 – Sarah Cho — 72-70-R3 = 142 (-2)
T16 – Brooke Riley — 71-72-R3 = 143 (-1)
T38 – Hannah Kim — 75-71-R3 = 146 (+2)
T38 – Stephanie Lau – 76-70-R3 = 146 (+2)
T65 – Janet Mao — 77-74-R3 = 151 (+7)
This spring marks the ninth consecutive NCAA postseason berth for the Wildcats, all under the leadership of head coach Emily Fletcher and assistant coach Beth Miller. Northwestern has earned a Top-2 finish in three straight Regionals, and has posted the program’s best-ever finish at four consecutive NCAA Championships, culminating in last spring’s stroke play title, No. 1 match play seed and runner-up result.
The Wildcats are joined in Madison by top-seeded Duke, Southern California, Arizona State, Illinois, Purdue, Iowa State, Virginia, Wisconsin, Campbell, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Old Dominion, Oregon State, Idaho, Murray State, North Dakota State and IUPUI. The group includes three of last year’s four NCAA Championships semifinalists in the Wildcats, Trojans and Sun Devils, as well as four of the Top-6 finishers at last weekend’s Big Ten Championships.
The six individuals invited to compete are Connie Jaffrey (Kansas State), Pinyada Kuvanun (Toledo), Pun Chanachai (New Mexico State), Elsa Moberly (Eastern Kentucky), Erin Harper (Indiana) and Cara Basso (Penn State).
This is the first NCAA event held at University Ridge since the 1998 NCAA Women’s Championships. University Ridge has also hosted the Big Ten Women’s Championships in 2000 and 2010 and the Big Ten Men’s Championships in 1995. This June, the course will host the PGA Champions Tour American Family Insurance Championship for the third-straight year.
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