April 29, 2012
PULLMAN, Wash. - Senior Joanne Lee's birdie on the 18th hole broke a tie for first place at the Pac-12 Women's Golf Championships, helping to send the California Golden Bears into sole possession of the lead. A par putt by senior Daniela Holmqvistsealed the Bears second conference championship in program history.
The Golden Bears, who are ranked No. 9 in the country in the latest Golfweek rankings, came into the Pac-12 Championships as the No. 5 seed in the 11-team tournament. The Bears' strong second round sent them into Sunday's finale with a three-stroke lead over Colorado.
The Bears were alone in the lead almost the entire third round, managing to stay ahead of Colorado. The USC Trojans had a late surge, with players making five birdies in the final two holes to help them jump over Colorado. The Trojans left the course trailing the Bears by a stroke. After freshman Nicola Roessler birdied the 12th hole, Cal took a two-stroke lead over the Trojans. The Bears had bad luck with both senior Daniela Holmqvistand junior Jackie Williams carding simultaneous bogeys (Holmqvist on 16 and Williams on 18) to drop the Bears into a tie with the Trojans.
The score remained knotted with just a pair of seniors left to finish. Senior Joanne Leegot the birdie the team needed on 18, sticking her wedge and then converting a six foot uphill putt. Holmqvist shored up the victory by making par on the final hole to give the Bears the second conference championship in the history of the program. The Bears last won the Pac-10 Championship in 2003.
"We stayed with our goal, which was to be in the hunt after the first 12 holes each day," said head coach Nancy McDaniel. "Today was especially good because we ended up making really good pars and playing smart coming down those last three holes. It was a lot of fun knowing that we had to play well to stay ahead of USC."
McDaniel noted the high level of competition within the Pac-12, as eight of the Conference's 11 teams entered the tournament ranked in the top 25.
"You've really got to have it on to stay ahead of these teams," said McDaniel. "They are the best in the country. To win this battle is super special and gives us a lot of confidence going into postseason."
For the individuals, the Bears ended up with a pair of top-five finishers. Lee shot a one-under 71 in the final round, her second below-par round of the tournament, to finish at +3, finishing fourth among the individuals.
"This win was amazing," Lee said. "We knew were going to be close and everyone would fight for it till the end. Everyone took it one shot at a time. We'll see how we can one-up this in Regionals."
Holmqvist, who was tied for first after the second rounded, ended up a stroke behind Lee at +4, tying for fifth place.
Roessler had three birdies (with two bogeys) in the final round, shooting a one-under 71.
"This was a real team effort," McDaniel said. "With Nicola coming in today with a one-under, Jackie's with 75, and Emily being there, steady all week, everyone contributed to this victory."
The Cal men's team also won the Pac-12 Championship on Sunday, tying with Oregon to force a playoff that they won on the second hole.
"We are so happy to be right there with the guys, with both teams winning the first-ever Pac-12 Championship," McDaniel said. "We couldn't be more proud of our players right now. This says a lot about Cal golf."
The Bears earn the Pac-12's automatic bid to the NCAA postseason. They will learn Monday night, April 30, at 6 p.m. to which of the three regional sites they will heading. The NCAA Regionals will be held May 10-12 at Penn State Golf Course in State College, the Ohio State University Golf Club in Columbus, Ohio, and the Colorado Nationals Golf Club in Erie, Colorado.
1 California 306 283 292 881 4 Joanne Lee 77 71 71 219 T5 Daniela Holmqvist 77 68 75 220 T23 Nicola Roessler 76 77 71 224 T25 Emily Childs 76 73 76 225 50 Jaqueline Williams 89 71 75 235
1 California +17 F +4 306 283 292 881 2 Southern Cal +18 F -1 306 289 287 882 3 Arizona +20 F -7 315 288 281 884 4 UCLA +21 F +3 304 290 291 885 5 Arizona State +23 F +2 299 298 290 887 6 Colorado +24 F +8 308 284 296 888 7 Stanford +36 F +4 320 288 292 900 T8 Oregon +45 F +14 307 300 302 909 T8 Washington +45 F +12 315 294 300 909 T8 Washington State +45 F +12 312 297 300 909 11 Oregon State +53 F +12 317 300 300 917