May 8, 2010
PALO ALTO, Calif. - Arizona held off an early challenge from top-ranked UCLA before pulling away to earn the 2010 NCAA West Regional championship, Saturday afternoon at the Stanford Golf Club.
The regional title is the 5th for the Wildcats and the first since the 2001 campaign. Arizona also picked up its third win of the season and a second-straight triumph after also besting UCLA two weeks ago at the Pac-10 Championships in Eugene, Ore. The regional title was not the first in Palo Alto for the Wildcats after the 1998 team won the West regional championship on the same course.
The Wildcats, ranked #7 in the latest NCGA Coaches' Poll, matched their first round total of 291 and finished with a three round total of 876 to end up 24-over par. The three-shot margin coming into the final day held up as the Bruins shot 297 to finish nine shots back at 885. Texas and Alabama tied for third at 890.
Sophomore Nikki Koller picked an opportune time to turn in her best 54-hole total of her Arizona career. Her second even-par round of 71 on the weekend allowed her to finish at 2-over par and tie for 3rd place overall. In six rounds at the Stanford Golf Course this season, Koller has carded three even par rounds and has also averaged just one over par over her last nine rounds of the season.
Freshman Sherlyn Popelka matched her veteran teammate with an even-par round and finished the tournament tied for 20th place overall at 10-over par. Junior Alejandra Llaneza shot 74 on Saturday and finished tied for 7th place at 7-over par while sophomore Margarita Ramos carded a 75 over her final 18 holes and tied for 10th at 8-over par. Sophomore Isabelle Boineau finished the tournament with a round of 80 and scored 233 for the event.
Madeleine Zeigert of San Jose State and Calle Nielson of Virginia finished a single shot ahead of Koller and Haley Stephens of Texas at 1-over par 214 to share medalist honors.
Arizona will be one of eight teams from the West regional to earn a berth in the NCAA Championships, a 72-hole event running May 18-21 at the Country Club of Landfall's Pete Dye Course in Wilmington, N.C. The other seven teams joining Arizona from the region will be UCLA, Texas, Alabama, Virginia, Stanford, San Jose State and Texas A&M.