Aggies Post Best-Ever Finish at NCAA Championships

Senior Demi Runas watches her shot during Friday's play at the NCAA Championships.

May 24, 2013

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ATHENS, Ga. - Sophomore Beverly Vatananugulkit's 4-over 76 paced UC Davis on Friday's final day of the NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship at the University of Georgia Golf Course as the Aggies finished 16th, its best showing in three trips to the prestigious tournament.

Friday proved to be the toughest day on the course for the 24 teams with only champion USC shooting par. The Aggies were 25 over in the last round, finishing at 51-over 1,203 for the 72-hole championship.

UC Davis entered the week ranked 17th by Golfstat and finished one spot higher than its ranking. It was the Aggies' best finish since becoming Div. I for the 2007-08 season. They were 21st in 2008 and then placed 20th in their last appearance in 2011.

Freshmen Betty Chen tied for 32nd in her first NCAA Finals appearance, senior Demi Runas capped her spectacular Aggie career by tying for 37th and Vatananugulkit tied for 73. Standout senior Amy Simanton tied for 102nd while freshman Andrea Wong tied for 109th.

Top-ranked USC ran away with the championship, finishing 19 under for a 21-stroke win over third-ranked Duke (+2). Seventh-ranked Purdue (+21) was a distant third while No. 8 UCLA (+22) and No. 12 Arizona State (+29) rounded out the top five. The Aggies were just two shots behind No. 24 Northwestern (+49) and only three back of No. 5 Arkansas and No. 13 Stanford (+48) which tied for 13th.

Vatananugulkit carded her third consecutive round of 76, making her turn 4 over but playing the back nine even after a birdie on the par-4 11th hole, seven pars and just one bogey. Chen, who was just 2 over entering the day, had a 78 in her last round. She was just 1 shot over par before a double-bogey on the ninth hole put her 3 over at the turn. She had a birdie on the 15th hole while playing the final nine holes just 3 over.

Runas, who ends her career after winning three straight Big West Golfer of the Year Awards and earning all-conference first-team honors all four seasons, shot 79 on Friday but was strong on her final nine holes which she covered with eight pars and just one bogey. Runas was just 1 over on her final 12 holes.

Simanton, another four-year All-Big West first-team selection for the Aggies, was just three shots above par on the front nine and ended the day with a pair of birdies. She had her first on the par-4 4th hole and another on the par-3 16th.

Wong opened her Friday with two pars but was 7 over after the first half of her round. She battled back to play the final nine holes just 3 over including picking up six more pars.

USC's Annie Park shot 71 on Friday and finished 10-under 278 to claim the individual national championship by six strokes over Lindy Duncan of Duke.

The tournament brought to a close another highly successful season for UC Davis which was again among the elite teams in the country throughout the season. The Aggies won their fourth consecutive Big West Championship, finished in the top five nine times including three runner-up performances, and had Runas capture medalist honors at the Golfweek Conference Challenge and the conference tournament.

Runas and Simanton end tremendous careers for the Aggies as well. Besides her conference honors, Runas is currently ranked 18th by Golfstat, finished first in two tournaments her junior year and had a school-record 66 early last season. Simanton was the 2010 Big West Freshman of the Year, tied for 15th at the 2011 NCAA Finals, and had two runner-up finishes at the Big West Championships.

The Aggies will return six of the eight players on their roster for the 2013-14 season.

Athens, Ga. (hosted by the Univ. of Georgia)
Univ. of Georgia Golf Course

1. USC, 284-276-285-288-1133
2. Duke, 286-289-287-292-1154
3. Purdue, 289-289-295-300-1173
4. UCLA, 289-287-297-301-1174
5. Arizona State, 293-287-296-305-1181
6. Auburn, 305-292-285-301-1183
7. Alabama, 288-284-301-316-1189
8. Arizona, 298- 297-300-1190
T9. Oklahoma, 291-291-300-309-1191
T9. Michigan State, 298- 298-304-1191
T9. Tulane, 295-289-297-310-1191
12. Oklahoma State, 303-300-294-296-1193
T13. Arkansas, 296-293-302-309-1200
T13. Stanford, 290-288-301-321-1200
15. Northwestern, 298- 300-310-1201
16. UC DAVIS, 299-297-294-313-1203
17. Florida, 299-298-305-303-1205
18. Vanderbilt, 299-289-307-311-1206
19. San Jose State, 284 295-327-1209
20. South Carolina, 304-305-292-310-1211
21. Texas, 299-295-304-315-1213
22. Oregon, 301-295-297-324-1217
23. Wisconsin, 301-309-297-311-1218
24. Mississippi State, 300-302-292-327-1221

1. Annie Park, USC, 70-76-70-71-278

T32. Betty Chen, 73- 72-78-296
T37. Demi Runas, 74-74-71-79-298
T73. Beverly Vatananugulkit, 77-76-76-76-305
T102. Amy Simanton, 75-74-82-80-311
T109. Andrea Wong, 77-79-75-82-313