May 12, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
The 33rd-ranked Purdue women's golf team fired a 294 on Saturday for a three-round total of 902 to finish third at the NCAA Central Regional in Columbus, Ohio. The Boilermakers will advance to the 2012 NCAA Championships for the 13th-straight season, a feat matched by only two other Division I schools, Southern California and Arizona State.
The top-seed Trojans won the Central Regional with a 54-hole total of 874 (298-290-286). No. 4-seed Vanderbilt, who will play host to the NCAA Championships in Franklin, Tenn., on May 22 to 25, finished in second place with a total of 899 (308-292-299). The Boilermakers were the No. 11 seed, but finished in third place with a score of 902 (301-307-294). No. 5-seed Tennessee, No. 9-seed Virginia, No. 6-seed Ohio State, No. 8-seed North Carolina State and No. 12-seed Arkansas also advanced to the championships.
All five Purdue golfers finished in the top 60 at the NCAA Central Regional which was held at the Ohio State University Golf Club's Scarlet Course, which was set up as a par-72, 6,264-yard venue.
Purdue was led by Big Ten Player of the Year Laura Gonzalez-Escallon who clawed back from a slow start on Thursday to tie for 10th place with a 222 (78-73-71). Gonzalez-Escallon saved her best round for the final day with a one-under par 71.
Classmate Paula Reto was just one stroke behind with a total of 223 (71-77-75). Reto opened the tournament with a one-under par 71 but was over par in each of the next two rounds, including a 75 on Saturday. It is fitting that Gonzalez-Escallon and Reto were just one stroke apart on the leaderboard as the two have been evenly matched this season, with just 0.3 separating their stroke averages. Gonzalez-Escallon, ranked No. 20 as an individual by Golfweek was averaging a conference-best 73.2 strokes per round coming into regional action, while No. 28 Reto held a 73.5 season stroke average.
Redshirt junior Kishi Sinha tied for 37th. The Noida, India, native carded a 77 in the final round to finish with a final score of 230 (74-79-77). Freshman Vicky Scherer earned a 232 (78-78-76) and tied for 45th. She had the fourth counting score for Purdue in the final round with a 76.
Freshman Aurora Kan shot her best score of the season with an even-par 72 on the final day. Kan tied for 57th with a three-round total of 235 (82-81-72).
Two individuals tied for first place. Maria Salinas of Florida State and Lisa McCloskey of Southern Cal both carded three-under par 213s to finish atop the leaderboard. Salinas and Georgia's Rocio Sanchez Lobato will compete as individuals at the NCAA Championships since they were the top two golfers in tournament from teams that did not qualify for nationals.
The Purdue women's golf team will return to campus to prepare for the NCAA Championships. Head coach Devon Brouse has led the Boilermakers to a top 10 finish in each of the last six NCAA Championships, including the national title in 2010 and a runner up finish last season. The NCAA finals will be held at the Vanderbilt Legends Golf Club in Franklin, Tenn., on May 22 to 25.