Alabama shoots 20-under in final round to win East Regional championship
AUBURN, Ala. -- Top-seeded Alabama finished off a commanding performance to win the NCAA East Regional championship at the par-72, 6,259-yard Auburn University Club with a 20-under-par 544 Saturday.
The Crimson Tide's 544 total was the second-lowest 54-hole score in school history and sends the team to its eighth consecutive NCAA tournament. Alabama will begin its title defense on May 21-24 at the University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Ga.
"That certainly isn't what we had in mind for a final round [Saturday]," Alabama head coach Mic Potter said. "It is so difficult to know how to think and play when you have such a big lead. We were a little tentative and we hit some shots that we don't always hit. We didn't make any putts, but how can you complain about that when you made everything the first two days? If you would have told me at the beginning of the week that we would shoot 20-under, I would have been excited, so I am ... real excited. We have to fix a couple of things when we get home and go to work."
It was the second win in a row for Meadow, her second regional crown (2011 East Regional) and her seventh career win. She finished with a 3-under-par 69 in the final round to tie the Alabama record for 54-hole scoring at 13-under-par 203. A three-putt on the 18th was all that kept her for having the record, which she now shares with Kathleen Ekey, to herself.
"I really just tried not to think where I was," Meadow said. "It was just another round of golf. It could have been the first round or it could have been the last round that is just how I attacked it. I just tried not to play to protective. I think I accomplished that."
Tulane pushed Alabama on Saturday with a 4-under-par 284 to finish eight-shots back at 12-under 852. It was the Green Wave's best regional finish in school history and the program's lowest 54-hole total. Arkansas and Oklahoma State tied for third at even-par 864 with Texas (871) fifth, Northwestern (874) sixth and UCLA (875) seventh. Auburn finished eighth to qualify for the NCAA championships on its home course.
Jennifer Kirby and Emma Talley both finished tied for fourth individually after carding 1-over-par rounds of 73 on Saturday for 5-under-par totals of 211.
Kirby, a senior from Paris, Ontario, made three birdies and four bogeys on the round. She made birdie on the 16th and pars on the 17th and 18th to finish with her second-lowest 54-hole total of the season. Talley, a freshman from Princeton, Ky., also shot 73 with four bogeys and three birdies on her closing 18 holes.
Sophomore Daniela Lendl was the Crimson Tide's fourth counting score for the second day in a row with a 3-over 75. She finished at 8-over 224. Hannah Collier's score of 4-over 76 was dropped from the team total to give her a three-round total of 5-over 221.