Pepperdine Tops UCLA Duke to Win Regional Challenge

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Courtesy of Pepperdine Waves
 
College Central presented by PINGPlaying in arguably the strongest field outside of the NCAA Championships, the No. 7 Pepperdine women's golf team captured the prestigious Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge for the second time in the last three years Wednesday afternoon at the par-71, 5,912-yard Palos Verdes Country Club in Palos Verdes.
 
Led by senior Rachel Kyono's 3-over par 74, the Waves shot a final round score of 304 to finish the tournament with a 54-hole score 896 and register a two-shot victory over defending national champion and second-ranked UCLA. The Bruins totaled a score 898 while top-ranked Duke placed third, four shots back at 900.
 
Florida (904) placed fourth while Washington made a late charge shooting the low round of the day with a 294 to place fifth with score of 906.
 
'This was a great win and a nice way to start the spring schedule,' head coach Laurie Gibbs said. 'It was a total team effort with everyone throughout the line-up contributing and Rachel (Kyono) came up with a big round today under difficult playing conditions.
 
'Winning a tournament with as strong of a field that we competed against over the last three days gives us a lot of confidence as we continue through the season,' Gibbs added.
 
Duke's Brittany Lang claimed individual medalist honors with an even-par 213 to post a four-shot victory over UCLA's Charlotte Mayorkas. Ohio State's Kristen White (22) placed third and was followed by USC's Irene Cho and Oklahoma State's Annie Thurman-Young who tied for fourth 8-over par scores of 221.
 
Pepperdine sophomore Eileen Vargas tied UCLA's Melissa Martin and Susie Matthews for sixth place with a nine-over par total of 222.
 
Junior All-American Carolina Llano tied for 12th while Kyono tied for 15th and junior Courtney Clark was among a group of six players who tied for 30th.
 
Freshman Stephanie Gelleni placed 60th while playing as an individual.
 
Pepperdine previously captured the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge in 2003 beginning a stretch of five straight tournament victories that catapulted the Waves to a No. 1 national ranking.
 
The Waves' victory will be reviewd during the Golf Channel's College Central show on Thursday beginning at 7:30 p.m.
 
Pepperdine is next in action when it travels to Tucson, Arizona, to compete in the Arizona Wildcat Invitational beginning February 21 at the Arizona National Golf Club.