SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Virginia graduate student Beth Lillie made history Monday when she became the first Cavalier to post two top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships. Lillie finished stroke play in ninth place at 3-over 291, that included a final-round score of 2-over 74 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“It was just another day of fighting the wind and the conditions and a hard course,” Lillie said. “I battled it out and came out with a 2-over and I’m pretty happy about it.”

Lillie was ninth at the 2021 event while competing as an individual after Virginia failed to advance as a team from a regional site. She was one of only two players (Emma Spitz of UCLA) to repeat top-10 finishes at the past two championships.

“It’s really cool (back-to-back top-10 finishes),” she said. “I just have a lot of people to thank. My coaches, my family and especially my teammates. It’s what we prepare for and what we want to do all season. I want to play my best when it matters the most for the team. That’s awesome.”

As a team, Virginia placed 15th with a score of 49-over 1201. The Cavaliers shot 12-over 300 during the final round after opening with 18-hole scores of 304, 299 and 298. It was UVA’s 12th appearance at the NCAA Championships in the 19-year history of the program.

“I was really proud of Beth and her steady play,” said Virginia head coach Ria Scott. “She really used the course knowledge of Grayhawk to propel her to another top-10 finish.

“She is that player that I wish I had recruited, but that I am so glad that I got to coach for four years. She is the person and player you want representing Virginia golf. I am so happy she stuck around for this fifth year. It would have been so hard to say goodbye to her last year. I was so happy she was able to play in this tournament again. To play so well. And most importantly, to play as part of a team with all of her teammates and friends. That’s the perfect way for Beth to complete her UVA career.”

Following Monday’s stroke play, eight teams advanced to the match play portion of the event. Top-ranked Stanford won stroke play at 9-over 1161. Other teams advancing to match play included No. 2 Oregon (1164), No. 19 Texas A&M (1166), No. 15 UCLA (1169), No. 17 Auburn (1175), No. 10 Florida State 1179), No. 5 San Jose State (1181) and No. 27 Georgia (1182).

Stanford’s Rose Zhang, the nation’s top-ranked player, won stroke play at 6-under 282.

UVA’s other fourth-round scores included a 2-over 74 from Rebecca Skoler, a 75 by freshman Amanda Sambach, a 77 by sophomore Jennifer Cleary and a 79 by junior Celeste Valinho.

Sambach was 31st at 291 while Cleary was 70th at 308. UVA substituted Skoler, Valinho and senior Riley Smyth during the event and they did not have individual finishes since none of the three played all four rounds.

“I think everybody would be comfortable saying that we underperformed as a team considering how prepare we felt coming in and how we performed throughout the season,” Scott said. “Knowing this golf course and getting comfortable on it is a big advantage. If we’re back next year as a team, I can assure you that we’ll be more prepared.”

Despite not advancing to match play, Scott sees a bright future for UVA as five of the six players at the tournament return next season.

“I’m really excited for the team because of the way everyone contributed this week,” Scott said. “Amanda Sandbach was so consistent as a freshman. She has a bright future. Jennifer Cleary led the team most of the year in stroke average. Then we get Riley Smyth back for a fifth year and also Rebecca Skoler and Celeste Valinho, who both played in the final round for us today. We’re going to be in great shape.”

NCAA Championships
Grayhawk Golf Club
Scottsdale, Ariz.
Par 71, 6,340 yards
Fourth Round Results

Team Results
 1. Stanford           289-292-283-297-1161
 2. Oregon             297-288-288-291-1164
 3. Texas A&M          292-297-288-289-1166
 4. UCLA               295-291-292-291-1169
 5. Auburn             296-290-299-290-1175
 6. Florida State      296-295-296-292-1179
 7. San Jose State     307-296-285-293-1181
 8. Georgia            303-291-298-290-1182
Top 8 teams advance to match play
 9. Arizona State      302-290-302-290-1184
10. USC                298-294-300-293-1185
11. LSU                296-291-301-299-1187
12. Purdue             301-299-293-296-1189
13. Texas              305-295-301-289-1190
14. South Carolina     306-300-297-288-1191
15. Virginia           304-299-298-300-1201

Individual Leaders
1. Rose Zhang, Stanford                68-70-69-75-282
2. Natasha Andrea Oon, San Jose State  77-68-70-70-285
2. Jennie Park, Texas A&M              73-72-72-70-287
3. Ingrid Lindblad, LSU                74-70-73-70-285 

Virginia Results
 9. Beth Lillie       73-69-75-74-291
31. Amanda Sambach    74-76-71-75-296
70. Jennifer Cleary   77-78-76-77-308
na. Riley Smyth       80-76-81-na-nf
na. Rebecca Skoler    na-na-76-74-nf
na. Celeste Valinho   83-82-na-79-nf