May 22, 2004
OPELIKA, Ala. - California senior Sarah Huarte held off Oklahoma State's Karin Sjodin by one shot Saturday to win the 2004 NCAA Division I Women's Golf individual title at the Grand National Lake Course. The three-time first team All-Pac-10 selection had to wait an extra day to win Cal's first national title in women's golf, as yesterday's fourth round carried over to today because of thunderstorms and darkness.
"My Cal career couldn't have ended any better," said Huarte, who was named a first team All-American. "This is very exciting for everyone. I got to play with some wonderful players all week. It was great to come out on top."
"This is incredibly exciting," said Cal coach Nancy McDaniel. "She got herself in position to win. Every time we turned around she was making a birdie. She got it going this week. The greens fit Sarah's putting style. She converted so many putts, making up for all the ones she came close on this season."
Huarte, who teed off this morning with a five-shot lead, was at four-under entering today's final six holes. She sank a birdie on the par-5, 14th hole to improve to five-under with five birdies and nine pars. However, she closed out the round with bogeys on the 15th and 18th holes - the same holes that gave her trouble in the third round - to finish with a 69 (-3). She was then forced to wait for Sjodin and UCLA's Susie Matthews, her nearest competition, to finish their rounds.
A member of the U.S. Curtis Cup team, Huarte concluded the tournament with a 72-hole score of 278 (-10), breaking her previous school NCAA record of 296, set in 2002.
"It was great having a five-shot lead and finishing my round first," said Huarte. "It helped a lot to be able to watch the scoreboard."
Entering NCAAs ranked No. 16 nationally, according to Golfweek, Huarte has two previous titles to her credit while at Cal. In January, she claimed the South Atlantic Ladies Amateur in Florida, and as a junior, she won the Bay Area Classic for her first collegiate crown.
Karin Sjodin, who played her final 10 holes today at three-under, took second at 279 and had a chance to tie Huarte on No. 18 after her birdie on 17. Sjodin sank par on the 18th, giving Huarte the crown and her a 71.
"Coach told me to think that (Karin) is going to make it," said Huarte, whose parents were in attendance. "I got my clubs and was warming up and stretching (for a possible playoff.)"
Matthews placed third at eight-under 280, finishing with a 72 Saturday.
As a team, No. 3 California finished in fourth place for the program's best-ever showing at the NCAA Championships, bettering the previous best of a tie for 14th in 2003. The team tallied the third-lowest score of the fourth round at 289 to end with a school record for 72 holes (1172), 21 strokes better than the 2002 NCAA mark. The Bears entered the day tied with No. 4 Vanderbilt at 20-over-par, and that's where they finished, while the Commodores fell to plus-28 to take fifth.
"This was a great rebound performance," said McDaniel, whose team was 23rd after the first round and played the final three rounds at minus-one. "Sometimes it's hard to do that. Our last three rounds showed a ton of character."
No. 2 UCLA won the national title at minus-four 1148, three strokes ahead of No. 10 Oklahoma State (1151). Top-ranked Duke grabbed third at 1159.
Cal sophomore Sofie Andersson tied for sixth and received honorable mention All-America recognition in her first appearance at the NCAA Championships. Andersson, a Swedish national team player, posted a 73 in round four for a total of one-under 287.
Sophomore Sophia Sheridan, an honorable mention All-America pick, came on strong for Cal as the tournament progressed. The second team All-Pac-10 honoree improved each round, capping the championship with an even-par 72. She placed 93rd with senior Anna Temple at 308. Temple fired a 75 today. Senior Claire Dury tallied a 78, tying for 110th at 312.
NCAA Championships Grand National Lake Course, par 72, 6215 yards FINAL - 72 HOLESTeam Scores: 1. UCLA 1148 (289-283-286-290), 2. Oklahoma State 1151 (288-293-282-288), 3. Duke 1159 (289-284-292-294), 4. California 1172 (309-282-292-289), 5. Vanderbilt 1180 (298-284-302-296), 6t. Texas 1184 (302-295-293-294), 6t. Washington 1184 (305-298-297-284), 8. Ohio State 1188 (296-292-303-287), 9. Georgia 1190 (302-297-293-298), 10. Arizona State 1191 (310-291-291-299), 11. Tennessee 1193 (303-297-301-292-292), 12t. Stanford 1195 (303-296-298-298), 12t. USC 1195 (307-286-305-297), 14. Wake Forest 1196 (298-289-310-299), 15t. New Mexico 1197 (304-292-304-297), 15t. Arizona 1197 (302-300-298-297), 15t. Furman 1197 (302-296-302-297), 15t. North Carolina 1197 (304-300-300-293), 19t. Florida State 1198 (301-301-295-301), 19t. Baylor 1198 (299-308-295-296), 21. UNLV 1204 (308-299-302-295), 22. Purdue 1205 (307-294-308-296), 23. Texas A&M 1211 (306-302-302-301), 24. Michigan State 1215 (302-310-298-305).
Top 5 Individual Scores: 1. Sarah Huarte (Cal) 278 (73-69-67-69), 2. Karin Sjodin (Oklahoma State) 279 (71-69-68-71), 3. Susie Matthews (UCLA) 280 (71-29-68-72), 4. Charlotte Mayorkas (UCLA) 284 (74-69-71-70), 5. Jessica Shepley (Tennessee) 286 (73-72-71-70).