May 11, 2013
AUBURN, ALA. - Tulane's 19th-ranked golf team completed the 2013 NCAA East Regional with a record-setting performance by posting a runner-up finish and recording the best 54-hole total in school history with a 12-under 852 total today at the Auburn University Club.
Tulane not only recorded its best finish in 10 NCAA Regional appearances, but more importantly kept its season alive by advancing to the 2013 NCAA National Championships, May 21-24, at the UGA Golf Course in Athens, Ga., and will be hosted by the University of Georgia.
The Green Wave will make its fourth all-time appearance in the NCAA National Championship field, including its third in the last five years. Tulane made back-to-back showings in 2009 and 2010 after making its first in 2005.
"This was a fantastic week and advancing to the NCAA Championships was one of our goals for this year," Tulane head coach Andrew Pratt said. "With three freshmen, we didn't really know what to expect coming into the season but they got better every week this year. We'll go into the national championships with the same intensity and focus that we had this week. This is a very good group and I certainly would not bet against them."
"There were a lot of things that went right for us this week and everybody played well. We made a lot of birdies, probably more than we normally make, so that helps. The big thing for us is we didn't make many mistakes. Our freshmen really stepped up and Gemma (Dryburgh) and Maribel (Lopez Porras) played their normal game. Each golfer really contributed this week and I'm very happy with our performance," Pratt added.
Tulane and Northwestern tied for the low team round today, each with a pair of 4-under 284s, and TU finished 12 strokes ahead of third-place teams, No. 5 Arkansas and No. 17 Oklahoma State, and also placed ahead of five teams ranked ahead of it in the national rankings, including Arkansas, Oklahoma State, No. 8 UCLA, No. 11 North Carolina and No. 13 Virginia.
With qualifying for the NCAA Championships in hand, the only question in doubt would be which team would earn the runner-up spot. Tulane entered the day with a nine-stroke lead over Arkansas but the Green Wave stumbled through the opening holes with six bogeys and two doubles bogeys. Meanwhile, Arkansas heated up and closed to within three strokes in the late moments on the front nine.
But, as it had all week, the Green Wave was magical on the backside of the course. Tulane's five golfers knocked in a combined nine birdies and quickly darted ahead of the Lady Razorbacks by a comfortable margin.
Freshman Emily Penttila, the Wave's first round leader, rebounded from a 2-over performance on Friday with a 3-under 69 effort today to lead the team. She turned in a fourth place finish with a 5-under 211.
Rookie Madison Opfer was steady once again today and logged a 1-under 71 to complete the 54-hole event with 6-under 210, which was good enough for a third place finish and the best effort of her young career.
Senior Maribel Lopez Porras and sophomore Gemma Dryburgh each carded even rounds today and both golfers overcame three bogeys with three birdies to stay out of trouble. Porras finished in 24th place with a 1-over 217, while Dryburgh was 11th with a 2-under 214.
Freshman Silvia Garces went to the clubhouse with a 5-over 77 today and completed the event with an 8-over 224 for 51st place.
Second-ranked and defending national champion Alabama led from wire-to-wire to claim the team title by eight strokes, while Crimson Tide golfer Stephanie Meadow claimed individual medalist honors with a 13-under 203 total. Along with Tulane, Arkansas and Oklahoma State, Texas rounded out the top five teams.
Tulane logged its fourth runner-up finish of the year and has now finished among the top five in all six spring tournaments and eight out of 10 events this season.
2 Tulane 283-285-284=852 (-12)* 3 Madison Opfer 70-69-71=210 (-6) T4 Emily Penttila 68-74-69=211 (-5) T11 Gemma Dryburgh 72-70-72=214 (-2) T24 Maribel Lopez Porras 73-72-72=217 (+1) T51 Silvia Garces 73-74-77=224 (+8)*school record for 54 holes
1. Alabama, (-20), T2. Tulane (-12), T3. Arkansas (E), T3. Oklahoma State (E), 5. Texas (+7), 6. Northwestern (+10), 7. UCLA (+11), 8. Auburn (+13), 9. Tennessee (+16), 10. North Carolina (+23) 11. Virginia (+30), 12. Kentucky (+33), 13. East Carolina (+41), 14. FIU (+43), T15. Notre Dame (+44), T15. UCF (+44), 17. East Tennessee State (+45), 18. Ole Miss (+46), T19. Penn State (+47), T19. Chattanooga (+47), 21. Texas State (+50), 22. James Madison (+65), 23. Eastern Kentucky (+111), 24. Alabama State (+130)
Individual Results (top-10 golfers only)
1. Stephanie Meadow, Alabama (-13), 2. Kelly Shon, Princeton (-7), 3. Madison Opfer, Tulane (-6), T4. Emily Penttila, Tulane (-5), T4. Jennifer Kirby, Alabama (-5), T4. Emma Talley, Alabama (-5), 7. Julie Yang, Oklahoma State (-4), T8. Jackie Chang, North Carolina (-3), T8. Chessey Thomas, Tennessee (-3), T8. Erica Popson, Tennessee (-3)