EUGENE, Ore. – The three teams that have dominated women’s college golf for the past two decades are the top three teams after three days of the NCAA Women’s Division I Championship.
USC remained in the lead at Eugene Country Club and is two shots ahead of UCLA and Duke. These three schools have combined to win 10 of the last 17 NCAA Championships.
Team leader: USC (-4)
Second place: UCLA (-2), Duke (-2)
The others: Washington (+2), Stanford (+4), Oregon (+6), South Carolina (+8), Virginia (+9), Arizona (+9)
Work to do: Alabama (+18)
Individual leaders: Duke freshman Virginia Elena Carta (-13), Miami freshman Dewi Weber (-7), Alabama freshman Cheyenne Knight (-7), Wake Forest freshman Jennifer Kupcho (-7).
Skinny: Now it all starts to get interesting. The field was cut to the top 15 teams and the top eight teams after Monday’s fourth round will move onto the match-play portion of the championship to determine the team winner. (The action is live on Golf Channel Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.)
Fourth-ranked Florida (missed by three shots) and sixth-ranked Georgia (missed by four shots) were casualties of the first cut. Top-ranked Alabama was outside the cut line for the first two days but rallied with a great third-round 290 to qualify by a shot. But the Crimson Tide is nine shots out of eighth place and will miss advancing to match play if they don’t pick up the pace.
Duke moved up seven spots with a third-round 280, the lowest score of the tournament matched only by USC in the second round. Tournament host Oregon continues to impress on its home course and is in sixth place.
Individual honors are up for grabs on Monday, but the race appears as if it’ll lack drama. Duke freshman Virginia Elena Carta shot a sizzling 66 and is at 13-under-par total, six shots ahead of a trio of freshmen – Alabama’s Cheyenne Knight, Miami’s Dewi Weber and Wake Forest’s Jennifer Kupcho. Top-ranked Bronte Law, from UCLA, is tied for seventh place at 4 under.
Carta smashed the previous 54-hole NCAA scoring record of 9 under par, which was held by four other players.
“I’m feeling really good,” Carta said. “I actually didn’t get it the first time they told me (about the record), but now that I know, it’s awesome.
“The next 18 holes are going to be tough. You never know how other players on the course are going to play. I’m excited. I’m pretty happy with my game.”