May 7, 2014
CLE ELUM, Wash. - Armed with its fifth consecutive Big West championship, the UC Davis women's golf team returns to the NCAA Regional this weekend for the fifth straight year, opening play on Thursday with hopes of advancing to the NCAA Finals for the fourth time in the program's brief history.
The Aggies are seeded 13th in the 24-team West Regional, which is being played at Tumble Creek Club at Suncadia Resort and being hosted by the University of Washington. The 54-hole tournament starts on Thursday morning and continues with 18 holes each day through Saturday. The low eight teams will advance to the NCAA Finals later in May and will be joined by the top two individuals who are not on an advancing team.
UC Davis will open the tournament at noon on Thursday from the first tee and will play with the University of Denver and San Diego State. The Aggies will have an earlier tee time on Friday, starting off the 10th tee at 7:30 a.m.
The West Regional features four top-10 teams including top-ranked USC, No. 6 Arizona State, No. 7 Oklahoma and No. 8 Washington. Thirteenth-ranked Clemson and No. 18 Wake Forest round out top-20 ranked teams that will also be at the tournament.
The Aggies are no strangers to the NCAA Championships. They're making their sixth appearance in seven Div. I seasons. UC Davis was sent to the University of Oklahoma for the Central Regional last year and finished sixth behind an 11th-place finish by Betty Chen. Its best regional finish was a tie for third at the West Regional at Auburn, Wash., in 2011.
The most exciting regional finish for the Aggies came in their first appearance - and first Div. I season - in 2008 when they were reportedly the last at-large team selected to the national championship. Playing at Lincoln Hills Golf Course in nearby Lincoln, UC Davis finished the final round tied for the eighth, with perennial powers Stanford and Ohio State, for the last berth to nationals. The Aggies posted a 1-under total for the playoff which had each teams' five players each playing one hole. Stanford and Ohio State were 1 over.
UC Davis was unranked that season but has steadily risen over the past several seasons to be one of the top collegiate programs. They've hovered in the top 20 for much of that time and will enter this regional ranked 37th.
The Aggies will field a lineup in Washington this weekend that features no seniors. Juniors Beverly Vatananugulkit (75.1 average) and Blair Lewis (77.3) will be joined by sophomores Betty Chen (73.2) and Andrea Wong (76.1) along with freshman Paige Lee (74.9).
UC Davis' team title at the Big West Championship was its second first-place finish of the year, joining the Indiana Hoosier Fall Invitational in October. Chen was medalist at the tournament as well.
The NCAA Finals will be held May 20-23 in Tulsa, Okla. The Aggies are hoping to return the national finals for the fourth time overall and the third since 2011.
The East Regional will be played in Tallahassee, Fla., this weekend while the Central Regional is set for Stillwater, Okla.
NCAA WEST REGIONAL
Cle Elum, Wash. (hosted by the Univ. of Washington)
Tumble Creek Club at Suncadia Resort
May 8-10, 2014
PARTICIPATING TEAMS (in seeded order)
2. Arizona State
6. Wake Forest
8. Michigan State
9. Iowa State
10. Georgia Regents
12. Texas A&M
13. UC DAVIS
15. San Diego State
18. Notre Dame
21. New Mexico
22. New Mexico State
23. Portland State
23. Detroit Mercy
1. Alison Knowles (La.-Monroe)
2. Regan De Guzman (San Jose State)
3. Clariss Guce (Cal State Northridge)
4. Fabiola Arriaga (UTSA)
5. Madchen Ly (Fresno State)
6. Alexandra White (BYU)