May 7, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The defending national champions Purdue women's golf team has advanced to the 2011 NCAA Championships with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA East Regional in Daytona Beach, Fla.
No. 2 seed Purdue shot an 879 (295-285-299, +15) to finish behind top-seed Alabama( 287-284-295=866), ACC champion North Carolina (293-282-293=868), No. 10 Arizona State (295-288-288=871), a surprising Coastal Carolina (286-298-292=876) and No. 3 seed California (290-295-293=878). Also advancing to the NCAA Championships from the East Regional are Florida and Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt and Florida State tied for the eighth and final spot, but the Commodores defeating the Seminoles in a playoff. Florida State's Jessica Negron and Michigan State's Caroline Powers are the two individuals to advance from the East Regional.
Alabama's Stephanie Meadow (71-67-69=207, -9) earned medalist honors after firing a 69 in the final round to maintain her spot atop the leaderboard. She won by six strokes over California's Pia Halbig (73-70-70=213, -3).
Laura Gonzalez-Escallon was the top-finisher for the Boilermakers, firing the low round for Purdue on Saturday with a 73 to finish tied for sixth with a 217 (72-72-73, +1). The sophomore from Belgium carded two of Purdue's three lowest individual rounds at the East Regional (first round and final round). Gonzalez-Escallon played solid golf the entire tournament with six birdies and seven bogeys spread over the three rounds.
Senior Thea Hoffmeister was Purdue's top-finisher in last year's NCAA Central Regional and put up the Boilermakers' second-best score this weekend with a 221 and a tie for 28th. Hoffmeister carded a 76 in the final round after opening with a 75, followed by a team-low 70 on Friday.
Big Ten medalist Numa Gulyanamitta fired a 74 in each of the three rounds for a tie for 31st with a three-round total of 222. Coming into regional play, the Rayong, Thailand, native was Purdue's highest ranked individual at No. 17 according to Golfweek. Gulyanamitta recorded a team-best four birdies in the final round, but four bogeys and a double-bogey on the par- 4 hole No. 4 cost her a below-par score.
Maude-Aimee LeBlanc was on pace to shoot her first par score of the weekend, but double-bogeys on the final two holes gave her a 76 and a tie for 38th with a total of 223. The senior from Canada opened with a 74 and shot a 73 on Friday.
Sophomore Paula Reto went from tying with Hoffmeister for the team's low round with a 70 on Friday to the high round of the day on Saturday with a 79. Reto, who has been playing golf for just six years, finished tied for 52nd with a 227 score. She opened with a 78 in the first round.
The NCAA East Regional was played at the LPGA International Legends Course which was set up as a par-72, 6,271-yard venue for the tournament. The last time the Boilermakers competed at the LPGA International was in 2007 at the NCAA Championships, earning a second-place finish.
Head coach Devon Brouse has the fourth-ranked Boilermakers' headed to their 12th-consecutive NCAA Championships appearance, a feat matched by just Arizona State and Southern California.
The 2011 NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championships will be held May 18 to 21 at the Traditions Club in Bryan, Texas, hosted by Texas A&M. Stayed tuned to purduesports.com for more information.