No. 1 USC Wins NCAA West Regional Behind Park (68), Kim (63)
Results at Golfstat.com
Freshman Annie Park tied for first to finish atop the leaderboard for her second straight event and fellow freshman Kyung Kim fired a school-record 63 to climb into a tie for third, the duo leading No. 1 USC to a come-from-behind win on the final day of the 2013 NCAA Championships West Regional at the Stanford (Calif.) G.C. on Saturday (May 11).
USC, coming off a win at the Pac-12 Championships, won its fourth straight NCAA regional for its school-record sixth win of the season at 7-over 859 (290-289-280), edging second-round Purdue by one stroke to advance to its 16th straight NCAA final.
The Boilermakers finished at 8-over 860 (291-286-283). Vanderbilt took third at 17-over 869 while South Carolina (874) and host Stanford (875) took fourth and fifth, respectively. Arizona, Oregon and San Jose State tied for sixth at 889 to snare the final three NCAA final spots.
NCAA East, Central and West Regionals, each made up of 24 teams, conclude today as they determine the NCAA Championship final field. The top eight teams plus two individuals from each field advance to the championship round, scheduled for May 21-24 at the University of Georgia C.C. in Athens, Ga. The Bulldogs finished in 10th in the West Region, two strokes out of the three-way tie for sixth, and will not get to play at its home course at the NCAAs.
The Trojans, whose win today was their NCAA best ninth regional title, trailed Purdue by two strokes and Vanderbilt by one entering the final round, but passed both thanks to Park's and Kim's fine rounds.
A two-time winner already this season, Park claimed her third victory of the season (there are no playoffs in NCAA regionals) at 7-under 206 (67-71-68). She had five birdies on the day and was at 4-under through 17 before a bogey on 18 prevented her from taking first alone. She shared first with Purdue's Paula Reto (71-69-66), who was part of Park's threesome today.
The main showstopper Saturday was Kim, who turned in a nine-birdie day, including four in a row between 14 and 17, to card a 63 and break the school record shared by Lisa McCloskey (2010) and Irene Cho (2006) at 64. All three rounds were 8-under.
Kim, who tied for third at 3-under 210 (75-72-63), opened with birdies on 1 and 2 and complemented them with birdies on 7 and 8. She bogeyed 10 to prove she was human and then birdied five of her final seven holes for her 63.
"I've been working really hard and it just feels great to have my game come around," said Kim, who is one of three Trojans to win individual titles this year. "I hope to take this with me to the NCAA Championships."
Junior Rachel Morris was USC's next best finisher at 10-over 223 (75-73-75), tied for 39th, while junior Sophia Popov (73-73-78) and sophomore Doris Chen (75-75-74) tied for 50th at 11-over 224.
USC's sixth win breaks the school record of five set in 2008, when the Trojans won their second and most recent NCAA title.
"It feels great to win and help set the record with six team wins this season," Park said. "I'm so honored to be on this fabulous team and that I can be part of every moment."