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UC Davis Advances To NCAA Championship

Links associated with this release:
NCAA West Regional Results


Courtesy of UC Davis Athleitcs

Senior Alice Kim fired a tournament-best tying 6-under 66 during Saturday's final round of the NCAA Division I Women's Golf West Regional, helping propel UC Davis to a third-place tie and its second berth in the NCAA Finals in the past four years.

The Aggies, who advanced to the national finals during their inaugural Div. I year in 2008 after winning a three-team playoff at the regional against Stanford and Ohio State, placed themselves in solid position from the start of this week's event and remained in the top four after each round.

UC Davis, ranked 22nd, shot a 7-over 295 on Saturday to finish the 54-hole tournament at 23-over 887, tying for third with sixth-ranked Virginia. Top-ranked USC was 2 over for the week, winning by 10 shots over No. 13 Tennessee which finished 12 over.

The top eight teams and top two individuals not on an advancing team qualified for the NCAA Championship in Bryan, Texas on May 18-21. Arizona (+31), South Carolina (+38), Washington (+41) and Oklahoma (+44) will also move on to the finals.

"The team was confident, poised, mature and disciplined in its game plan," said Aggie coach Anne Walker. "The depth of the team was very clear with multiple people contributing. I'm thrilled for Alice and Chelsea (Stelzmiller) to be returning to the national championship. They truly deserve it.

"We once again identified ourselves as one of the nation's best teams by finishing in tie with sixth-ranked Virginia."

UC Davis finished in front of four teams ranked in front of it.

Kim's round capped an amazing turnaround for her after she opened the regional with an 80. She battled back to fire a 72 on Friday and ended in a seventh-place tie at 2-over 218 after her 66 on Saturday. Sophomore Demi Runas, the Big West Player of the Year, gave UC Davis two players in the top 10 after tying for fifth at 1-over 217 and playing solidly throughout the tournament.

Sophomore Amy Simanton matched her best round of the regional with a 73, tying for 11th at 5-over 221 and moving up the leaderboard eight place on the last day. Senior Chelsea Stelzmiller had an 80 and tied for 58th at 17-over while freshman Jessica Chulya shot an 84 and finished in a tie for 113th.

Kim, who won the Big West Championships in late April, had two birdies on her front nine and was in strong position, but then birdied the par-4 3rd, par-5 4th and par-3 5th. That string was part of five birdies over six holes that was only interrupted by her lone bogey over her final 29 holes.

The score tied her best round of the year, was her third below 70 this season, and matched Sadena Parks of Washington for the regional's best. Kim will be playing in her third NCAA Championship after also advancing as an individual in 2008 and placing eighth. Stelzmiller will be in her second.

Runas, who had a 69 on Thursday and a 72 on Friday, was 6 over on her front nine on Saturday but rallied with back-to-back pars to finish 2 under on her back nine, posting 76 overall. She tied with Katerina Ruzickova for fifth.

Simanton also had consecutive birdies, picking hers up early in the second round and then a dozen pars the remainder of the way as she matched her opening-round 73. Stelzmiller had two birdies in her final round while Chuyla opened hers with five straight pars.

Erica Popson of Tennessee closed with a 1-under 71, carding a three-day total of 8-under 208 and winning by five shots over Lizette Salas of USC. Only four players in the 126-competitor field finished at par or better.

A total of 24 teams qualified for the NCAA Championship from three regionals this week.

NCAA Women's Golf West Regional
1. Southern California, 288-284-294-866
2. Tennessee, 292-287-297-876
T3. Virginia, 290-301- 296-887
T3 UC DAVIS, 300-292-295-887
5. Arizona, 303- 293- 299-895
6. South Carolina, 303-299 -300-902
7. Washington, 304-294-307-905
8. Texas A&M, 301-302-305-908
9. Oregon, 302-301-306-909
10. Iowa State, 304-306-302-913
11. Oklahoma, 316-300- 301-917
12. BYU, 303-311-304-918
13. Denver, 307-307-306-920
14. Georgia, 314-303-309-926
15. Pepperdine, 318-299-314-931
16. Texas-San Antonio, 311-313-313-937
17. San Diego State, 310-311-317-938
18. Tulsa, 310-315- 315-940
19. New Mexico, 310-318- 313-941
20. Portland State, 305-311- 326-942
T21. New Mexico State, 319-315-320-954
T21. Oral Roberts, 320-314-320-954
23. San Jose State, 315- 316-326-957
24. Texas-El Paso, 321-324-338-938