The ninth-ranked Purdue women’s golf team has advanced to its 14-consecutive NCAA Championships with a team total of 860 (291-286-283) for a second place finish at the NCAA West Regional in Stanford, Calif. The No. 4 seed Boilermakers shot a 283 on Saturday and finished just one stroke behind top-ranked and top-seeded Southern California (290-289-280=859).
Purdue was led by Big Ten individual champion Paula Reto (71-69-66, -7), who fired a five-under par 66 to tie with Southern Cal’s Annie Park for first place at 206.
Reto’s 66 is two off her career-low, school-record round of 64 that she shot last season at the Lady Jaguar Intercollegiate on a par-72 course, but the 206 breaks Reto’s own school record for low 54-hole tournament score. She recorded a 207 at the Lady Jaguar last year. The Cape Town, South Africa, native had an impressive performance on the final day with five birdies, no bogeys and 13 pars.
Reto is the first Boilermaker to earn medalist honors at an NCAA Regional since Maria Hernandez tied for first at the NCAA Central Regional in Austin, Texas, on May 10, 2008.
It was a team effort however, as all five Purdue golfers finished in the top 40. Freshman Margaux Vanmol turned in a one-under par 70 to finish with a 216 (74-72-70) and a tie for 10th place in her first NCAA Regional appearance. It is the Belgian native’s third top-10 finish this season.
Redshirt senior Kishi Sinha tied for 22nd with a consistent effort throughout the tournament. The New Delhi, India, native opened with a 74, followed by a 72 in the second round and a 73 to finish things off, giving her a total of 219. It was a personal best finish at an NCAA regional for Sinha.
Senior Laura Gonzalez-Escallon shot a 74 in the final round to tie for 33rd with a three-round total of 222 (72-76-74). Gonzalez-Escallon won the last tournament of the regular season at the Lady Buckeye Invitational. She has won four individual medals in her career and has finished third or tied for third in the last two NCAA Championships. Aurora Kan, a sophomore from Chichester, Pa., tied for 39th place. She shot a 75 on Saturday for a total of 223 (75-73-75). Kan was coming off three-straight top-10 finishes before the regional, including a career-best tie for ninth at the Big Ten Championships.
No. 3 seed Vanderbilt finished third, No. 12 seed South Carolina finished fourth, No. 5 seed Stanford was fifth on its home course, while No. 2 seed Arizona, No. 14 seed Oregon and No. 19 seed San Jose State tied for sixth. All eight teams will advance to the NCAA Championships to be held at the University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Ga., on May 21 to 24.
It was the 17th NCAA Regional appearance for the Boilermakers and their best finish since placing second at the 2009 NCAA Central Regional. Purdue’s only NCAA regional victory came in 2006 in the West. The Boilermakers have earned top-10 finishes in the last seven NCAA Championships, including the title in 2010.