ERIE, Colo.—Stanford remains in first place here through two rounds of the 2012 NCAA West Regional, but the story brewing is who will qualify for the NCAA Championship, as it looks like it will come down to a shootout between 10 to 13 teams for the final four spots.
The top eight teams will advance to the Legends Course in Franklin, Tenn., and the top four spots look to be somewhat solid, with Stanford’s two-round total of 4-over par 580 leading the way followed closely by LSU, just one stroke behind at 5-over par 581. Then both North Carolina and UCLA are tied for third at 10 over par 586.
Then the next four spots could all be up for grabs. Baylor is in the best position at 17-over par 593, and the Bears have just one stroke over Texas Tech (594) while Pepperdine (596) and California (597) would both make the cut as it stands through two rounds.
The teams on the outside looking in then include host Colorado and Illinois, who are just one stroke behind California at 22-over par 298 and just two strokes behind the Buffaloes and Illini are Tulsa, UC Davis and San Jose State, all tied for 11th at 24-over par 600. Oklahoma is in 14th place at 25-over 601, while UNLV (603), Iowa State (604) and TCU (606) are also within striking distance less than nine strokes out of ninth place.
The first teams out on the course tomorrow could prove to determine whose season continues and whose abruptly comes to an end, as Pepperdine, California and Illinois will all tee off of the No. 1 at 7:30 a.m. while Colorado, Tulsa and UC Davis will tee off on No. 10 at the same time.
Those six teams are bunched within four strokes of each other and depending on the outcome of some different teams, the final two spots could be pulled from those six.
Individually, North Carolina’s Catherine O’Donnell leads the way with a 5-under par 139 on the strength of a 3-under par 69 in the second round. Her second round score was matched by LSU’s Austin Ernst, who is one stroke behind overall at 4-under par 140. The top five players are all under par through 36 holes, as Stanford teammates Sydney Burlison (3-under 141) and Sally Watson (2-under 140) are third and fourth, respectively, followed by Baylor’s Hayley Davis, who is 1-under par 143.
The top two individuals, either from a team not advancing or the six individuals already in the field, will also advance to the NCAA Championships. If things held as they do now, San Jose State’s Megan Osland would advance and there would be a playoff between Iowa State’s Punpaka Phuntumabamrung and Oklahoma’s Chirapat Jao-Javanil for the final spot.
The top 12 teams in the field and all six individuals will comprise the morning wave, but there are handful of teams that are very much alive in the afternoon wave, so things won’t be decided until the early evening hours mountain time.