W. LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The USC women's golf team, led by NCAA individual champion Mikaela Parmlid, shot 296 on Friday to capture its first-ever national title at the 2003 NCAA Women's Golf Championships held at Purdue's Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex.
It's the first NCAA team championship, women's or men's, in USC's grand golfing history.
USC led wire-to-wire in the tournament and finished with a 72-hole total of 1197 (+45). Pepperdine was second, 15 strokes behind with a score of 1212 (+60).
'We peaked at the right time and played our hearts out the last seven rounds (including the NCAA West Regional Championships),' said USC head coach Andrea Gaston. 'Obviously we're extremely excited to bring home the national championship.'
Parmlid won a sudden-death playoff over Florida's Andrea Vander Lende to join Jennifer Rosales as the only Women of Troy golfers to win the NCAA individual title. Parmlid shot 297 (+9) overall on her way to establishing USC records for wins in a season (4) and in a career (5).
'This is a great way to go out,' said Parmlid, a senior. 'I wanted this so much for the team and for the school. This is really special.'
Parmlid shot 5-over in the final round to tie with Vander Lende, then defeated her in the one-hole playoff by two strokes.
USC got crucial contributions from its fourth and fifth golfers as freshman Irene Cho finished tied for third, just one stroke back from Parmlid with a score of 298 (+10), and junior Anna Rawson shot 301 to tie for 11th. Cho and Rawson shot 72 and 73, respectively, in the final round to help keep the Women of Troy afloat.
'Going in, I didn't think it (the NCAAs) was as huge it is,' said Cho. 'Then this morning, I got a little nervous. It's great to play well when I needed to and to show my stuff.'
Also for USC, senior Becky Lucidi shot 305 to finish tied for 28th, while freshman Tanya Dergal shot 310 to tie for 55th.
USC came into the final round with a seven-stroke lead over Pepperdine and quickly expanded that lead to 15 strokes by the eighth hole, thanks to Dergal's 2-under and Cho's 1-under totals. But several USC bogeys later, Pepperdine was in striking distance, just five strokes back. Then Rawson made back-to-back birdies on holes 13 and 14 (a chip in) to stem the Waves' surge. The Women of Troy then moved back to an 11-stroke lead and finished strong for the final margin.
'Anna was amazing out there,' said Gaston. 'She's such a fighter and a tremendous team player. For the important championship, she really knows how to play smart golf. She made it happen today. But this is a team effort. Everyone contributed this week.'
In the team race, Texas was third (1213), followed by Ohio State (1214) and UCLA and Oklahoma State (1216).