The crowning of an individual champion and narrowing of the team portion to eight teams proved unusually exciting (again) Monday, with ASU senior Monica Vaughn winning the individual title while upstart Kent State was one of eight teams to get to match play. The contrast in emotions with the weekly drumbeat of pro golf was noticeable, and the match play hasn't even begun!
For ASU's Vaughn, Kevin Casey writes for Golfweek.com how the win came after an early stumble to seemingly doom her chances. So much so that Vaughn and coach Missy Farr-Kaye were not Golfstat obsessing on purpose.
It wasn’t until the group finished out and Vaughn’s teammates came running toward her that she realized she had won. And then the tears flowed – after all, Vaughn is a senior and a cornerstone of the program.
The veteran had been on fire entering the NCAA Championship, finishing top-3 in four of her previous five events – including a win at the NCAA Lubbock Regional. But after 23 straight NCAA Championship appearances, Arizona State failed to make the field in 2015 or 2016.
While Vaughn finished solo fifth as an individual at the 2015 tournament, the back-to-back team misses left a mark.
So did the 2-footer for par that lipped out on the fifth hole (her 14th) on Monday. The devastating bogey dropped her to 3 over for the tournament, and four back. Vaughn, who started the day two back of Kupcho, thought she put herself out of the individual race.
Beth Ann Nichols on the fine play of two Ohio programs, including Ohio State and Kent State.
Two Ohio-based teams, well-versed in brutal weather and tough tracks, made history at Rich Harvest Farms, qualifying for match play for the first time in school history.
“I just told the team I believe in them,” said Hession. “They’re as good as any team out there.”
Hession’s Buckeyes will face Southern California in the quarterfinals of match play on Tuesday while Kent State squares off against top-seeded Northwestern. Kent State ranks 16th in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, the same ranking Stanford had when the Cardinal won in 2015. Last year’s victorious Washington squad was No. 13.
Golfweek Staff's preview of the quarterfinal team matches.
Golf Channel, which begins Tuesday team match coverage at 11 am ET, had this wrap of Monday's best shots: