BRADENTON, Fla. – Perennial heavyweights Southern Cal and Duke top the leaderboard after three days of the weather-plagued women’s NCAA Championship. But the race for those making the 15-team, 54-hole cut is jam packed with four teams bunched by five shots in positions 13-16.
The original schedule called for a cut to be made by Sunday here at Concession Golf Club, but six of the 24 teams have not completed their third rounds. There has been at least one weather delay each of the three days so far. On Sunday, a mid-afternoon delay was an hour because of threatening weather in the area, although it never rained.
Although USC and Duke both have six holes remaining in the third round, they sit safely in the top two spots. Duke has won five NCAA championships since 1999 and is the defending champion. USC has won three championships in the last 12 years, its last coming two years ago.
“It was a very long day,” said longtime Duke coach Dan Brooks. “We were fighting right until the very end.”
Arizona shot a 6-over 294 in the third round, the best score of the day, to put the Wildcats into the third position. After an early wake-up call to complete the second round, Arizona finished its third round just as the horn blew to suspend play for the day.
“They don’t need another pep talk from me,” Arizona coach Laura Ianello said. “We just need the same momentum for tomorrow.”
Alabama is sitting on the coveted 15th-place position and has already completed its third round. After two disastrous opening rounds, third-ranked UCLA is only 3 over par in Round 3 and sits in 16th place with six holes left. The round will resume Monday at 7:30 a.m. ET.
The top eight teams will advance to the match-play portion of the championship after 72 holes. The quarterfinal and semifinal matches will be Tuesday and the championship match will be Wednesday. All matches will be live on Golf Channel.
Also on Monday, an individual champion will be crowned. Alabama junior Emma Talley is the leader after rounds of 70-73-73 that have her at even par. Arizona State sophomore Monica Vaughn, here playing as an individual, is one shot back.