Louisville Women's Golf Earns NCAA Championship Berth
The Cardinals shot a 5-under-par 283 in the final round, a school-record for an NCAA event.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – On the biggest stage in recent history, the University of Louisville women's golf team put together its best performance.
The Cardinals shot a 5-under-par 283 on Wednesday in the final round of the NCAA San Francisco Regional, a school record for an NCAA regional, and earned a berth to the NCAA Championships. Louisville will make its second appearance as a program at the championships site after a three-day score of even-par 864, first reaching the finals in 2007.
Louisville entered the day tied for seventh, but catapulted to and finished fourth on the leaderboard following even-or-under-par marks from three golfers at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, Calif. The Cardinals' three-day score of even-par 864 shattered the school record set in 2007 by six strokes.
"It was an incredible finish," head coach Courtney Trimble said of taking her first team as a coach to an NCAA Championships. "We knew that it would come down to the last six holes, and we just tried to win each hole. I am so proud of this team and all that they have accomplished. They were so determined this week and really believed in themselves. This was a total team effort, and I couldn't be happier for their hard work to pay off."
Delaney Shah paced the Cardinals, shooting a career-best 4-under-par 68. After turning in her first career round even or under par on Tuesday, the sophomore tallied the third-best score of the field on Wednesday and matched the third-best score at a regional in school history. She totaled six of her nine birdies on the final day, including two consecutively on holes 17 and 18.
The North Potomac, Md., native climbed 25 spots on the final day, tying for 13th behind a 1-under-par 215. She and Lauren Hartlage became the fifth and sixth golfers in school history to finish a regional under par.
"I had been putting in a lot of work trying to tighten up my game this semester and to see it all pay off during my round today made it that much better," Shah said. "I am so proud of my team for grinding it out on that back nine and can't wait to see what we have in store for the championship."
Molly Skapik produced arguably the best finish in the 96-player field. The senior recorded birdies on her final four holes and finished the day with a 3-under-par 69. Skapik's total is tied for the fifth-best round at an NCAA Regional in program history. She finished the event in 39th with a 4-over-par 220.
"It's so awesome to be able to make it to the national championship," Skapik said. "This team never gave in. We played some of our best golf on the last few holes and were able to get the job done. I'm so proud of this team and so happy that our hard work is paying off."
Hartlage, equally as notable, registered marks even or below par all three days and was only one of seven golfers in San Francisco to achieve that feat. She totaled an even-par 72 on the final day and tied for 13th after accumulating a 1-under-par 215. The regional served as another opportunity for Hartlage to climb the school record book, as she now owns the single-season mark for most rounds even or below par in a season with 20.
The sophomore from Elizabethtown, Ky., secured the best par-3 average in the field, a 2.75.
Fellow Kentucky natives Kristin Engle and Olivia Cason battled for the fourth-best round on the team. Engle finished one stroke ahead, shooting a 2-over-par 74, aided by a solid 2-under-par on the back nine. Cason, meanwhile, carded a 3-over-par 75. Cason capped the tournament tied for 40th, while Engle tied for 48th.
As one of the top six teams advancing, Louisville returns to action May 18-23 for the NCAA Championships at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.
Stroke play for the 24 advancing teams is Friday through Sunday (54 holes) and the field is then cut to the top 15 teams and nine individuals not on an advancing team.
The final day of 18 holes of stroke play (Monday) will be used to determine the top eight teams that will advance to match play as well as the 72-hole individual champion. The team national champion will be determined by a match-play format that will consist of quarterfinals and semifinals conducted on May 22, followed by the finals on May 23.
2018 NCAA San Francisco Regional
May 7-9, 2018
TPC Harding Park (par 72/6,369 yards)
San Francisco, Calif.
TOP-SIX TEAM SCORES PLUS LOUISVILLE (18 teams, 54-hole totals): 1. Stanford – 287-287-282; 2. UCLA – 280-295-285; 3. Ole Miss – 290-287-286; 4. Louisville – 287-294-283; 5. Kent State – 284-290-291; 6. Colorado – 284-298-287
LOUISVILLE GOLFERS (of 96): t-13. Lauren Hartlage – 71-72-72; t-13. Delaney Shah – 75-72-68; 39. Molly Skapik – 72-79-69; t-40. Olivia Cason – 71-75-75; t-48. Kristin Engle – 73-75-74