It wasn’t the best of rounds for the University of Alabama women’s golf team, but it was good enough to secure a tie for first place heading into the match-play portion of the NCAA Championships.
However, with No. 3 UCLA catching top-ranked Alabama, as both teams finished stroke play at +9, the Crimson Tide moves forward as the second team in the brackets due to a tiebreaker.
Alabama will face No. 16 Kent State during Tuesday morning’s quarterfinals (11 a.m. ET, Golf Channel). The winner will play the advancing team between No. 6 USC vs. No. 4 Duke.
Cheyenne Knight’s bid to win the individual national title came up three shots short as the Alabama junior was 2-over-par during the final round of stroke play Monday to finish fourth at -5. Jennifer Kupcho of Wake Forest won the individual title at -7, with Arizona’s Bianca Pagdanganan and Stanford’s Andrea Lee at -6.
Emma Talley remains Alabama’s only NCAA individual champion, won in 2015 at Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla.
By shooting the back nine at -4, sophomore Kristen Gillman had the low score of the day for the Crimson Tide at even-par. She and junior Lauren Stephenson both finished at -1, tied for seventh place.
Alabama Final Stroke Play Individual Results
- 4. Cheyenne Knight- 70-69-70-74/283 (-5)
- T-7. Lauren Stephenson- 74-69-70-74/287 (-1)
- T-7. Kristen Gillman- 73-72-70-72/287 (-1)
- T-67. Angelica Moresco- 75-76-78-79/308 (+20)
- 75. Lakareber Abe- 76-81-74-83/314 (+26)
The Crimson Tide shot +11 at the par-72 Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., to finish at +9 (292-286-284-299).
“The girls said the greens were a little faster today,” Alabama coach Mic Potter said in a release. “I couldn’t tell a big difference, but we weren’t as sharp for sure. I think everybody in this field had that kind of day at one point or another, we’re just really fortunate we built a pretty big cushion and could afford to have our bad day today.”
UCLA will play No. 9 Arizona on the other side of the bracket, after the Wildcats needed a playoff to break an eighth-place tie with No. 26 Baylor. The winner of the quarterfinal will face the survivor of No. 13 Northwestern vs. No. 5 Stanford in the semifinals later Tuesday.
With her team’s season on the line, Pagdanganan made an eagle putt on 18 to tie Baylor. Arizona otherwise shot +17 during the round to tumble down the standings, but was still one stroke ahead of No. 2 Arkansas at the cut line.
With the Razorbacks eliminated, Alabama is the lone Southeastern Conference team still playing. Auburn, Florida and Ole Miss all missed the cut to 15 teams following Sunday’s third round.
2018 NCAA Women's Golf Championship brackets…
(1) UCLA vs. (8) Arizona
(4) Northwestern vs. (5) Stanford
(2) Alabama vs. (7) Kent State
(3) USC vs. (6) Duke
— Lance Ringler (@GolfweekRingler) May 22, 2018
Alabama went into the fourth round with an 8-shot lead, and 27-shot cushion for making the quarterfinals. Knight was also tied with Kupcho atop the individual leaderboard at -7.
“We can’t take anything for granted,” Potter said. “In the SEC tournament we played really well in three matches and not very well in two. They’re all worth a point and it doesn’t matter how much you win by so we’ve got to have everybody engaged and ready to go out there and play great. We’ve just got to go to the first tee, play aggressively and take the conditions as they come.”
Alabama-Kent State Pairings
- 8 a.m. ET: Lauren Stephenson (Alabama) vs. Pimnipa Panthong (Kent State)
- 8:10 a.m.: Kristen Gillman (Alabama) vs. Michaela Finn (Kent State)
- 8:20 a.m.: Lakareber Abe (Alabama) vs. Karoline Stormo (Kent State)
- 8:30 a.m.: Angelica Moresco (Alabama) vs. Chloe Salort (Kent State)
- 8:40 a.m.: Cheyenne Knight (Alabama) vs. Kory Nielsen (Kent State)