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By: CUBuffs.com
Buffs Slip To Sixth At Pac-12 Championships
Release: April 29, 2012
By: Curtis Snyder, Associate SID
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PULLMAN, Wash.—The No. 11 University of Colorado women’s golf team battled strong but lost a couple of strokes near the end of its round and fell from second to finish sixth at the 2012 Pac-12 Championships.  The Buffs, who were one stroke out of the lead about two-thirds of the way through the round, hit brief rough spot that cost them six strokes as they finished seven strokes behind champion California here Sunday at the Palouse Ridge Golf Course.

The top six teams Sunday, all of which are ranked in the top 17 nationally, put on a show in the final round, as at times in the final round, just four strokes separated those six teams.  The Buffs got off to a bit of a slow start as a team but fought back to within one stroke of the Bears through 13 holes.  Over a couple-hole stretch, the Buffs lost six strokes and found themselves in sixth place. 

The Bears, ranked No. 13 nationally, claimed the championship after a final round 4-over par 292 to finish at 17-over par 881, just one stroke ahead of No. 3 Southern California, who rallied with a final round 1-under par 287 to finish 18-over 882.  No. 17 Arizona made the most noise in the final round, shooting a women’s collegiate course record 7-under par 281 to finish at 20-over par 884 with No. 1 UCLA taking fourth place after a 3-over 291 to finish 21-over par 885.  No. 5 Arizona State edged the Buffs by a stroke, finishing at 23-over par 887 after a 2-over 290 in the final round.  

“We didn’t get off to a great start,” CU coach Anne Kelly said. “But we fought really hard and were we right in there through about 13.  Then No. 14 was a little rough and 15 ate our lunch.  We ended up sixth, but it was really tight, it was a dog fight.  There are great teams here and everybody fought tough.”

The Buffs did rally to recover and shoot even par over the last few holes to remain one stroke behind fifth place Arizona State. The Buffs final round of 8-over par 296 gave them a 54-hole total of 24-over par 888.  

“Hopefully we can learn from this,” Kelly said. “The good news is we still have tournaments left this season, so we need to stay positive and take something away from this experience.  There are a lot of things we can take away from this and work on.”

The sixth-place finish does match the second-best performance in program history at the conference championships, behind a third-place finish at the Big 12 Championships in 2005-06 and matching sixth place finishes at Big 12s in 2007 and 2010.  Finishing seven strokes behind the champion is easily the best in program history, bettering both a 19-stroke difference in 2010 and a 23-stroke difference in 2006.  

The Buffs final round 8-over par 296 matches the second-best postseason round in school history, a feat matched by the 2006 team in the second round of the Big 12 Championships and behind only the Buffs second round 4-under 284 on Saturday. Additionally, the Buffs 24-over 888 over 54 holes is easily the best postseason performance in program history, 15 strokes better than the previous mark of 39-over 903 set by last year’s team at the Big 12 Championships.  

Sophomore Alex Stewart led the Buffs on the final day with an even par 72 and she and senior Emily Talley both finished tied for ninth with 5-over par 221’s over the 36 holes.  Talley finished 2-over in the final round thanks to a birdie on her final hole, while Stewart was even par with two birdies and two bogeys.

“Alex and Emily got in the top 10, so that’s good,” Kelly said. “Having two top 10 at our first Pac-12 Championships is pretty good.  It’s not an easy thing to do anywhere, especially with as much talent as a field like this.”

Both match the seventh-best postseason finish in program history marking the eighth and ninth postseason top 10 in CU history, and it’s just the second time in a conference championship that two Buffs have finished in the top 10, matched only in 2006 when Maria Persson-Gulda (fifth) and Lindsay Caljouw (ninth) did so at the Big 12 Championships.

Stewart had a steady final round in which she had two birdies and two bogeys to finish at even par.  She played even before getting a birdie on the par 4 No. 7 and then remained under par through the turn before getting a bogey on the par 3 No. 11.  She bogeyed No. 14 to go to 1-over par but immediately birdied the next hole to get back to even par, and finished her final three holes out with pars to remain there.  For Stewart, it’s her sixth top 10 finish of the season, matching the third-best season total in CU history and behind only Jess Wallace’s total of 10 and Talley’s total of seven last season. 

“I was hitting the ball well and gave myself some opportunities,” Stewart said. “But I just didn’t convert as many of those opportunities as I would’ve liked.”

Talley’s birdie on that final hole enabled her to sneak into the top 10, giving her three top 10 finishes at conference championships, or one-third of CU’s all-time total. She played the front nine at 3-over par with bogeys on holes Nos. 1, 4 and 8.  She birdied No. 12 and bogeyed No. 14 to remain at 3-over before a tap-in birdie on No. 18 gave her a 2-over par 74.  It marks Talley’s 19th career top 10 finish, eight more than any other player in program history, and it’s her 30th career top 20 finish, 10 more than any other player. 

“I was just really nervous today,” Talley said. “I couldn’t make any putts; that’s where I was getting in trouble.  But I did end on a good note, I almost holed out No. 18 and had a tap in birdie that put me into the top 10, so that’s nice.  I was doing well on the tee and fairway, I was just getting tense on the green, I’ll need to figure that out before Regional’s for sure.”

Sophomore Kristin Coleman proved to be clutch in the final round and shot a 1-over par 73 to finish at 11-over par 227 and finish tied for 32nd.  She played her front nine even with a birdie on No. 2 and bogey on No. 5.  After a bogey on No. 11, she found herself und par for the first time in the championship with consecutive birdies on Nos. 13 and 14.  Those two birdies were unfortunately followed by two bogeys but she rebounded to par the final two holes and remain at 1-over.  

“Kristin was a huge bright spot for us today,” Kelly said. “I know she had a few late bogeys but she played really, really strong.  She’s been close to breaking through for a long time and took another positive step forward, today.”

Senior Jess Wallace shot a 5-over par in the final round and matched Coleman’s 32nd place finish with an 11-over par 227 through the three rounds.  She had a bit of a rough start with bogeys on the first four holes and shot 6-over on the first eight holes.  After making the turn, she had consecutive birdies to get back to 4-over and then she pared the next four holes.  She sandwiched a birdie around a pair of bogeys on her final three holes to finish at 5-over.  

Sophomore Jenny Coleman had a bit of a roller coaster start to her round.  Coming into the round in third place and just one stroke behind the co-leaders, she went bogey-birdie-double bogey-birdie to start her round and after another bogey and birdie on the next four holes, she was 1-over through eight after six straight pars, she was still in contention through 14 holes. Then came a disastrous triple bogey on the par 4 No. 15 followed by a pair of untimely bogeys to close her round put her at 6-over par 78 and she finished the event tied for 23rd at 8-over par 224.  

Up next for the Buffaloes is the 2012 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship Selection show, which will air live on-line at NCAA.com on Monday at 7 p.m. MT.  The Buffs are expected to make the field and will be placed into the NCAA West Regional, which CU will host at Colorado National Golf Course May 10-12.  

“This may hurt our ranking and our seeding a little bit, but that’s the price you pay,” Kelly said. “With the last week of school and then finals coming up before the Regional, we will just need to focus on finals, regroup quickly and then go to Regional’s.”

“It will be study, study, study when I get back to Boulder,” Stewart said. “We all have to take care of finals and then prepare for Regional’s.  It will help being closer to home for Regional’s, we should be more relaxed and there’s fewer things to stress out about.”

Those interested in volunteering for the 2012 NCAA West Regional can do so at www.cubuffs.com/golfvolunteers


BUFFALOES INDIVIDUALS

t-9.

Alex Stewart

78-71-72—221

t-9.

Emily Talley

78-69-74—221

t-23.

Jenny Coleman

74-72-78—224

t-32.

Kristin Coleman

78-76-73—227

t-32.

Jessica Wallace

78-72-77—227

 

TOP 5 INDIVIDUALS

1.

Doris Chen, USC

77-72-68—217

t-2.

Tiffany Lua, UCLA

77-71-70—218

t-2.

Giulia Molinaro, Arizona St.

71-74-73—218

4.

Joanne Lee, California

77-71-71—219

t-5.

Daniel Holmqvist, California

77-68-75—220

t-5.

Lisa McCloskey, USC

74-74-72—220

t-5.

Daniel Ordonez, Arizona St.

76-75-69—220

t-5.

Sophia Popov, USC

79-69-72—220

 

TEAM STANDINGS

1.

California

306-283-202—881

2.

Southern California

306-289-287—882

3.

Arizona

315-288-281—884

4.

UCLA

304-290-291—885

5.

Arizona State

299-298-290—887

6.

Colorado

308-284-296—888

7.

Stanford

320-288-292—900

t-8.

Oregon

307-300-302—909

t-8.

Washington

315-294-300—909

t-8.

Washington State

312-297-300—909

11.

Oregon State

317-300-300—917

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