A week after capturing its first-ever Big West Conference Women’s Golf Championship, the UC Riverside Highlanders learned where they are headed for their first NCAA Division I Women’s Regional, as the DI Women’s Golf Committee announced the teams and individuals participating in this year’s event.
The newly-crowned Highlanders are slated to compete in the Stanford regional where they will compete at the Stanford Golf Course in Palo Alto, Calif., as the No. 15 seed. USC is the top seed of the regional and is followed by Arkansas, host Stanford, Virginia and UNLV. All-Big West First Team member Hannah Facchini paces UC Riverside with a 75.5 stroke average and is followed by 2016 Big West Women’s Golf Co-Freshman of the Year Jakeishya Le and her 76.2 stroke average.
The Highlanders will be joined by a quartet of Big West student-athletes who earned individual at-large selections. Leading the way is Long Beach State senior and 2016 Big West Conference Women’s Golfer of the Year Kassidy Teare, who is making her second consecutive appearance in the postseason. Teare, who leads the league with a 72.3 stroke average, is only the second women’s golfer from LBSU to qualify as an individual for the NCAA Regionals two years in a row as former 49er All-American Kay Hoey qualified in 2005 as a freshman and 2007 as a junior.
During the fall season, Teare captured individual medalist honors at the Ron Moore Intercollegiate in Colorado, followed by back-to-back second-place finishes at the Las Vegas Showdown and the All There August Challenge in Texas. At the Las Vegas Showdown, Teare shattered the program record for a three-day score by nine strokes, carding a 16-under 200 (68-66-66) on the 6,277-yard Boulder Creek Golf Club course.
Cal State Fullerton Martina Edberg is set to join Teare at the Stanford Regional. Edberg, an All-Big West First Teamer, led the team with a 73.35 scoring average during the 2015-16 season, a new Cal State Fullerton single-season record. She has set the record each of the past two seasons, posting a 74.81 average as a freshman and a 74.44 mark last season. This marks her second straight trip to the NCAA Regionals after she appeared in the South Bend Regional hosted by the University of Notre Dame last year.
The final individuals representing the Big West is a duo from UC Davis - Paige Lee, won medalist honors at last week’s Big West Women’s Golf Championship, and Andrea Wong. Wong, a senior from San Francisco, will be making her fourth appearance at the regional while Lee, a junior from Folsom, is making her third. The Aggies’ inclusion continues the program’s string of being represented at all nine at the NCAA Championships since reclassifying to Div. I in 2007-08. UC Davis has been represented seven times as a team and now twice with individuals.
Lee earned her regional spot with four top-20 finishes in 2015-16, including two in the top 10. She highlighted her year with her first-ever Big West title, opening with an even round of 72 at The Bay Course in Lahaina, Hawai’i on April 15, and later closing with a 1-under 71 to hold off Kassidy Teare of Long Beach State by a stroke. Teare was also selected to the Stanford regional.
Wong, an All-Big West first-team pick this season, won last year’s conference championship at El Macero Country Club. This season, she’s posted a team-best 74.04 scoring average, enters the postseason with two straight top-10 finishes and has been in the top 20 in five of her nine tournaments this season. She was fifth at last week’s Big West Championships.
Four regional tournaments will be conducted May 5-7 to determine the championships field. Regional tournaments are considered preliminary rounds of NCAA championships competition and all national championships policies apply. The other three regional sites include the Texas A&M Regional at the Traditions Club in Bryan, Texas; LSU Regional at the University Club in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and the Alabama Regional at Shoal Creek Club in Shoal Creek, Alabama. A total of 384 participants have been selected for regional competition. Of these players, 132 will advance to the championships finals.
Six teams and three individuals will advance from each regional. The national championships will be May 20-25 at Eugene County Club in Eugene, Oregon, hosted by the University of Oregon. The final three days of the championship will be televised live by the Golf Channel.