Szokol Ties for First, Leads UVA Back to NCAAs
May 7, 2016
Stanford, Calif. – Behind the co-medalist play of senior Elizabeth Szokol (Winnetka, Ill.), the No. 15 Virginia women’s golf team advanced to the NCAA Championships for the ninth time in the 13-year history of the program. But it was a nail-biting experience for the Cavaliers.
Virginia finished sixth at the NCAA Regional site at the Stanford golf course to claim the final spot to the NCAAs. UVA started the day tied for third place, but a 15-over par score of 299 barely allowed the Cavaliers to advance. UVA finished the three-day, 54-hole tournament at 31-over 883. Virginia edged No. 34 Colorado by one shot for the regional’s final berth to the NCAA Championships.
The regional’s top seed, No. 2 USC, tied No. 12 Stanford on the Cardinal home course to share first-place honors at 4-over 856.
No. 31 Ohio State placed third at 875 while No. 45 North Carolina (878) and No. 7 Arkansas (879) also advanced to the NCAA Championships by finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
“We are thrilled to have gotten through,” said Virginia coach Kim Lewellen. “It was a tough regional. It was a bit stressful today, but we advanced and we’ll take it.”
Szokol carried the Cavaliers during the final round. She shot 4-under 67, playing her final 13 holes at 5-under par. She was the only UVA player to post a birdie on the front nine during the final round.
It marked the first time in Szokol’s career she finished first at a tournament. She shared medalist honors with UC Davis’ Andrea Wong. Szokol’s final round score and tournament total were the best she has posted at UVA since transferring from Northwestern after her sophomore season.
“I talked to Elizabeth on the par three, 14th hole and told her she was in a good position to make it to the NCAAs even if the team didn’t advance,” Lewellen said. “She looked at me and said, â€˜Coach, this whole team needs to go and we’re going.’ I told her we probably needed her to make a couple of birdies down the stretch and darned if she didn’t do that on the 14th and 15th holes.”
Szokol parred the final three holes, two-putting from 20 feet on the 18th green, to send Virginia on to the NCAA Championships. Despite the poor start to the round, UVA’s scoring players managed to play the final three holes at a combined 1-over par as they managed to hold on to sixth place.
“It was really awesome to see Elizabeth step up with that type of performance today,” Lewellen said. “Seeing her play that strong down the stretch was impressive. She knew what the scores were, she knew what she needed to do and she did it.”
UVA senior Lauren Coughlin (Chesapeake, Va.) and freshman Morgan Gonzales (Chandler, Ariz.) tied for 33rd at 10-over 223. Freshman Anna Redding (Concord, N.C.) was 62nd at 229 and junior Lauren Diaz-Yi (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) was 77th at 79.
The NCAA Championships are May 20-25 at the Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore. Teams from the other three regionals that advanced to the NCAA Championships are:
Bryan, Texas Regional: Georgia, Arizona, UCLA, Furman, Miami (Fla.), Texas
Baton Rouge, La., Regional: Florida, South Carolina, Washington, Duke, Oregon, BYU
Shoal Creek, Ala., Regional: Northwestern, Florida State, Oklahoma State, Alabama, Tennessee, Michigan
Stanford Golf Course
Par-71, 6,269 yards
Team Results 1. USC 287-284-287-856 1. Stanford 289-280-285-856 3. Ohio State 299-285-291-875 4. North Carolina 302-289-287-878 5. Arkansas 298-291-290-879 6. Virginia 288-296-299-883 7. Colorado 295-300-289-884 8. Wake Forest 295-299-293-887 9. San Jose State 299-301-288-88810. Pepperdine 298-295-296-88911. Michigan State 291-301-301-89312. San Diego State 299-297-299-89513. Texas Tech 291-307-298-89614. UNLV 300-295-313-90815. Idaho 300-304-307-91116. UC-Riverside 306-313-308-92717. Richmond 306-312-313-93118. Seton Hall 310-315-319-944
Individual Leaders1. Elizabeth Szokol, Virginia 73-69-67-2091. Andrea Wong, UC Davis 72-72-65-2093. Alana Uriell, Arkansas 72-67-71-2104. Casey Danielson, Stanford 72-68-71-2114. Tiffany Chan, USC 71-69-71-211
Virginia Results 1. Elizabeth Szokol 73-69-67-20933. Lauren Coughlin 73-72-78-22333. Morgan Gonzales 71-77-75-22362. Anna Redding 71-78-80-22977. Lauren Diaz-Yi 77-78-79-234="http:>="http:>="http:>="http:>="http:>="http:>