NCAA Golf: Mackenzie wins regional; UW takes 3rd
Seattle Times staff reporter
AUBURN — Next stop, Columbus.
Paige Mackenzie, the most decorated college golfer in University of Washington history, stayed on a roll Saturday at the NCAA West Regional with an eight-shot victory.
Mackenzie shot a 1-under 71 at Washington National to win the regional title with three rounds below par and a 208 total.
Three weeks ago, she won the Pac-10 title with three rounds under par.
Her performance Saturday led the Huskies to a third-place finish in the regional behind Purdue and Pac-10 champion UCLA.
Washington easily made the cut of top eight teams in the 21-team regional that advance to the NCAA Championships May 23-26 at Ohio State.
Mackenzie shot rounds of 68-69-71 for her 208 that is the best score of her collegiate career. She heads to Columbus with the momentum of a freight train coming down a mountain.
"I feel really good about it," the fifth-year senior from Yakima said after capturing the regional. "I'm even more excited our team is playing well. It's been such a struggle the last year and a half."
Mackenzie will be among the favorites at the NCAA tournament, where she finished 10th last year. Golfweek ranks her the No. 1 amateur in the nation, a ranking that factors in her 13th-place finish at the U.S. Women's Open last summer. She is ranked the No. 8 collegiate golfer in the nation by the publication but will move up this week.
Big Ten champion Purdue won the regional with a total of 881 strokes and UCLA was second with 887. Mackenzie's three-putt bogey on the 18th hole cost the Huskies a tie for second, but that didn't dampen the excitement about the team playing well and advancing. The third-place finish was the Huskies' best ever at a regional.
The Huskies were coming off a disappointing sixth-place finish at the Pac-10 tournament and had been seeded ninth for the regional.
On their home course, the Huskies made a U-turn and showed they can compete on the national stage.
"We started playing the way we thought we could play," said coach Mary Lou Mulflur.
Amber Prange, the steadiest player of the spring, rebounded from a front-nine 41 Saturday to shoot 33 on the back and finish at 2-over 74. She was 4 over (220) for the tournament and tied for fifth overall. She was the only other Husky in the top 25.
Sophomore Kim Shin, who had been in a slump, shot 75 Saturday and was 11-over 227 for the three days.
Courtney McCracken contributed a 77 Saturday to finish at 238, and that made Sung Ea Lee's 79 the score that wasn't used in team scoring. Lee, who fired 235 overall, has battled back pain since a car accident three weeks ago.
Mackenzie is no stranger to pain, either. Back ailments in 2003 put her golf career in jeopardy.
Her only two bogeys of the tournament came Saturday and both were three-putts. The one that was out of character was on the seventh hole, where she three-putted from 4 ½ feet. She rebounded with birdies on the next two holes.
Rachel Newren of Brigham Young finished second individually with an even-par total of 216 that included a 72 Saturday. Christel Boeljon of Purdue was third at 1-over 217 after a 73 Saturday.
The crowd at Washington National was estimated at 500 and nearly 100 spectators spent the round following Mackenzie.
"It was great," said Mackenzie, whose brother Brock was a Huskies All-American who graduated in 2004. "I can't say how wonderful it was to finish my [home] college career in front of a hometown crowd."
• Mackenzie became the second Husky to win a regional. Dodie Mazzuca won the West Regional in 1997.
• The Huskies will be making their fifth trip to nationals in six years. Their highest finish at nationals was sixth in 2004.NCAA West Regional
(Played at the 6,289 yard, par 72, Washington National Golf Club.)
#Advancing to the NCAA Championship as Individuals; *Teams advancing to the NCAA Championship
|San Jose State||305-309-306-920|
|New Mexico State||303-320-318-941|
|Long Beach State||307-325-318-950|
|Paige Mackenzie, UW#||68-69-71-208|
|Rachel Newren, BYU#||71-73-72-216|
|Christel Boeljon, Purdue||72-72-73-217|
|Da Sol Chung, UNLV||73-74-71-218|
|Maria Hernandez, Purdue||71-75-74-220|
|Joanna Klatten, Georgia St#||74-73-73-220|
|Susie Mathews, UCLA||71-77-72-220|
|Jane Park, UCLA||73-71-76-220|
|Amber Prange, UW||69-77-74-220|
|O. Sattayabanphot, Purdue||74-72-75-221|
|Sung Ea Lee||78-78-79-235|
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