Race to the Eight looms at women's NCAAs


BRADENTON, Fla. – It took a few extra hours, but the NCAA Women’s Championship is finally back on schedule.

The top 15 teams after 54 holes advanced to the final round of stroke-play qualifying. The field will be trimmed again after Monday’s round as the top eight move on to the match-play portion of the championship.

The 54-hole cut fell at 66-over 930, and there were a few casualties at Concession. 

Four top-10 teams have already been eliminated, including No. 2 South Carolina, which spent a portion of this season as the top-ranked squad. Also heading home early are ACC champion Virginia, No. 9 Texas A&M and sixth-ranked LSU, which saw Player of the Year contender Madelene Sagstrom finish outside the top 50 individually.

Full coverage: NCAA Division I National Championships

The three-win Gamecocks put their match-play spot in jeopardy with a second-round 322. Needing to make a run over their final 18 holes, they instead made seven doubles or worse to finish two shots back of the 15th spot. 

South Carolina had three players finish inside the top 50 individually, but the other two starters were a combined 74 over par.  

“Obviously I’m really disappointed,” coach Kalen Anderson said. “We had a hell of a season and a really rough week.”

Now the attention turns to the 15 teams in the Race to the Eight and the individuals vying for a national championship.

The top three spots seem secure: Duke (+30), Southern Cal (+34) and Arizona (+41). But after that, there are nine teams separated by 10 shots.

Final-round tee times are threesomes off split tees from 11 a.m. to 1:10 p.m. ET. Golf Channel coverage is live from 3-7 p.m

Alabama junior Emma Talley, at even-par 216, leads Arizona State’s Monica Vaughn (playing as an individual) by a shot with one round to go. Duke’s Leona Maguire, the presumptive NCAA Player of the Year, is another shot back.