Stanford, Calif.-----For the first time since 2001, San Jose State University is going to the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships. The Spartans, 14th after 18 holes, played steady team golf the remaining two rounds to finish in the seventh qualifying position out of eight in the 24-team NCAA Division I Women’s Golf West Regional Championship field.
After moving into an 11th place tie after 36 holes, San Jose State posted its lowest 18-hole team score of the tournament, a 14-over par 298 in the final round, to finish at 900 on the par 71 Stanford University Golf Course. In the process, the Spartans finished ahead of four top-25 nationally-ranked squads to earn their spot at the NCAA Championships, May 18-21, in Wilmington, North Carolina.
PLAYED THEIR BEST WHEN IT COUNTED
“The whole team did it and I’m proud of all of them. By far, it was our best performance of the year by everybody,” said San Jose State head coach John Dormann. “It’s nice to get back to nationals.
“There are so many good teams here. To be in the top eight, you have to earn it. We haven’t earned much this year. When it really mattered, everybody really came through.”
Sophomore Madeleine Ziegert led San Jose State on the leaderboard the entire week and shared first place individual honors with Virginia’s Callie Nelson at one-over par 214. The sophomore from Sweden had three birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey for her first first-place finish as a major college golfer.
ZIEGERT - SPARTANS 1st NCAA REGIONAL CO-MEDALIST
“She hit the ball better today. She hit more greens today. She had some nice up and downs. Probably the best thing we did all year was switch her putting grip,” said the Spartans’ coach. “She went back to conventional. She had been putting left-hand low for about a year. After a couple of tournaments this year, I said, ‘You need to go back to conventional.’ She finally bought into it. She’s a born natural putter and it showed this week. You point to a spot and she would hit it there. By golly, it went in a lot of times.”
“I was never nervous about it. My putting (was the best part of my game). For the first nine holes, I had just 10 putts. I had 22 putts the first round. Being able to save par from far away, I didn’t have to depend on just a really short game,” said Ziegert, whose opening-round 67 was the best 18-hole score of the championships. For 54 holes, she had 10 birdies, second best among the 123 players in the field, and an eagle. One of her birdies was an 80-foot putt on hole #3 in the second round.
Ziegert is the first San Jose State golfer to earn or share medalist honors at a NCAA Regional Championship since the NCAA added regional championship qualifying in 1993. Not even a 3-foot long snake that spooked a golf cart driver taking Ziegert and her playing mates across a bridge on the 4th hole rattled her concentration on the final day.
“The first-day made everything easier. It was like ‘Play-Station Golf.’ The cup became so much bigger.”
Senior Cristina Corpus added a top-20 finish tying for 20th place at 223. The three-time first-team All-Western Athletic Conference selection played her final 36 holes five-over par. She was five-over par after 18 holes.
DELEN-BRIONES WITH MUCH-NEEDED COMEBACK
Junior Katrina Delen-Briones gave the Spartans a much-needed lift to the NCAA Championships. Mired in a prolonged slump in which she only had one score lower than 75 in a 10-round span before the regional championships, Delen-Briones played the final 45 holes of the regional championships five-over par, best among her teammates for the same stretch, after starting out at the Stanford course nine-over par after nine holes.
“Kat found herself the last two days, which was huge for our team. Cristina played solid and hung in there like she always does. Maddie led the charge and Shraddhanjali (Singh) picked it up a little bit,” added Dormann about Delen Briones who finished at 226.
Singh turned in her best score in the final round of the three-day tournament with a 77 and finished at 237.
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NCAA Division I Women's Golf West Regional Championships
Stanford Golf Course, Stanford, Calif.
Par 71, 6,115 yards
Team Scores (top eight qualify for the NCAA Championships)
1. Arizona 876
2. UCLA 885
3. Texas 890
5. Virginia 894
6. Stanford 895
7. San Jose State 900
8. Texas A&M 903
Did not qualify for the NCAA Championships
9. LSU 904
10. Iowa State 908
11. California 909
12. Ohio State 910
13. Arkansas 911
14. Colorado State 912
15. UC Davis 913
16. UNLV 918
17. UC Irvine 927
18. Maryland 928
19. Idaho 938
20. Portland State 942
21. USF 946
22. Texas State 948
23. Oral Roberts 956
24. Pennsylvania 977
1. Madeleine Ziegert, San Jose State 67-74-73-214
Callie Nielson, Virginia 72-71-71-214
3. Nikki Koller, Arizona 71-73-71-215
Haley Stephens, Texas 70-77-68-215
5. Camilla Lennarth, Alabama 73-70-74-217
Other San Jose State scores
20. Cristina Corpus 76-74-73-223
36. Katrina Delen-Briones 80-72-74-226
91. Shraddhanjali Singh 80-80-77-237
111. Jody Ho 81-83-82-246