May 23, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. - Senior Demi Runas fired a 1-under 71 during Thursday's third round of the NCAA Div. I Women's Golf Finals while freshman Betty Chencontinued her stellar tournament with a 72 as UC Davis moved into a tie for 13th place at the University of Georgia Golf Course.
UC Davis, ranked 17th in the latest Golfstat poll, shot a collective 6-over 294, marking the second straight day its improved its score. It's tied with ninth-ranked Arizona at 26-over 890, just three shots from 12th place Michigan State and eight shots from moving into the top 10.
The Aggies tied for the seventh-best score in the third round and had the fourth-best among the top 17 teams. In all, four of the five UC Davis players competing had their best rounds of the week during Thursday's play.
Chen jumped seven places into a tie for 21st among all players while Runas is tied for 25th. Freshman Andrea Wong had her best round so far this week, shooting 75, while sophomore Beverly Vatananugulkit had a 76. Senior Amy Simantonfinished with an 82.
UC Davis is in its third-ever NCAA Finals and looking for its best finish. The Aggies tied for 20th in 2011 in their previous-best performance.
"We played well today," said head coach Anna Temple. "The conditions were much tougher today with the pin placements and the wind. We have a great opportunity to have everyone play well in the final round and leave this championship with a good result."
Runas, named Wednesday as winner of the Dr. Hubert Heitman Award as the Aggies' top female athlete of the year, showcased why she is also the three-time reigning Big West Player of the Year. Starting her day on the 10th hole, Runas played the back nine of the course 2 shots under par, thanks to back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th holes.
A pair of bogeys brought her to even after 12 holes but she had five pars and a birdie the rest of the way to shoot in the red for the first time in this championship. Runas is 3 over for the week.
Chen enjoyed her best round as well after opening the first two rounds with 73's in each. She had consecutive birdies on the 17th and 18th holes, both par fives, and then had just one bogey the remainder of her round. She ended her day with nine straight pars.
"Betty also did exceptionally well today having to finish out her second round (suspended because of darkness) and then regroup and prepare for round three," Temple said. "That showed a lot of maturity in such a young player."
Wong and Vatananugulkit were the other two Aggies to have their best scores come in the third round. Wong had two birdies over her first nine holes and played the course's back nine a shot below par. Vatananugulkit had three birdies overall and played her opening nine holes just a shot above par.
Vatananugulkit is 13 over for the tournament and tied for 90th while Wong is 15 over and tied for 108th. Simanton is also 108th, highlight her day with a trio of birdies during the first half of her round.
Top-ranked USC continues to lead the 24-team field, posting a 3-under 285 on Thursday to improve to 19 over. It leads third-ranked Duke by 17 shots with No. 7 Purdue, No. 8 UCLA and No. 2 Alabama tied for third at 9 over.
USC's Annie Park is 9 under to lead all players. She has a two-stroke lead.
The tournament concludes on Friday.
NCAA DIV. I WOMEN'S GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS
Athens, Ga. (hosted by the Univ. of Georgia)
Univ. of Georgia Golf Course
54 of 72 holes
1. USC, 284-276-285-845
2. Duke, 286-289-287-862
T3. Alabama, 288-284-301-873
T3. Purdue, 289-289-295-873
T3. UCLA, 289-287-297-873
6. Arizona State, 293-287-296-876
7. Stanford, 290-288-301-879
8. Tulane, 295-289-297-881
T9. Oklahoma, 291-291-300-882
T9. Auburn, 305-292-285-882
T9. San Jose State, 284 295-882
12. Michigan State, 298- 298-887
T13. UC DAVIS, 299-297-294-890
T13. Arizona, 298- 297-890
T15. Arkansas, 296-293-302-891
T25. Northwestern, 298- 300-891
17. Oregon, 301-295-297-893
18. Mississippi State, 300-302-292-894
19. Vanderbilt, 299-289-307-895
20. Oklahoma State, 303-300-294-897
21. Texas, 299-295-304-898
22. South Carolina, 304-305-292-901
23. Florida, 299-298-305-902
24. Wisconsin, 301-309-297-907
1. Annie Park, USC, 70-76-70-207
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