Wake Forest’s Jennifer Kupcho wins DI women’s golf individual national championship; top eight teams advance to match play quarterfinals
STILLWATER, Oklahoma – Wake Forest’s Jennifer Kupcho became the school’s first individual national champion in women’s golf, claiming medalist honors following the fourth round of the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships. The championships are being hosted by Oklahoma State University at Karsten Creek Golf Club, a par 72, 6,328-yard course.
After matching the single-round record for the course in her first round, Kupcho went on to shoot 1-under par 71 in her final round and posted a tournament score of 65-74-70-71 – 280. She became the first player to win an individual title the year after a runner-up finish since Susan Slaughter in 1989-90.
“I think [last year] kind of came up when I had the rough patch on the front nine, and then definitely on the 17th tee shot, just because it’s the same hole, and it was kind of a narrow tee shot all week,” Kupcho said. “Those are the two holes that it came up.”
She entered the round sharing a lead with Alabama’s Cheyenne Knight and all but sealed her victory on the 16th hole where she drained a long putt to birdie. It was her fifth of six on the day.
“It means a lot to me to have my teammates here supporting me and cheering me on all day … and my parents, on their anniversary to win it for them is really exciting,” Kupcho said. “To bring it back to Wake Forest for coach Dianne Dailey … She’s been here so long, and it’s great to get the first individual win on the women’s side.”
Kupcho finished two strokes ahead of Arizona’s Bianca Pagdanganan and Andrea Lee of Stanford (282). Lee moved up 11 spots in the final day of play and shot 7-under par 65 to match the course single-round record. It was her best performance of the tournament.
Following a playoff, Arizona defeated Baylor to claim the final spot in match play. Yu-Sang Hou carded a birdie on the last hole to lock in the victory for the Wildcats. They will face top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals.
“We’re excited,” said UCLA head coach Carrie Forsyth. “This is what we’ve been waiting for all year. We’re excited to get the chance to play in the match play portion. It should be a lot of fun. We’re looking forward to it.”
UCLA and Alabama led the field through four rounds, shooting 9-over par 1161, followed by the University of Southern California. Southern California and Stanford are the only two teams to advance to match play each year since the stroke and match play format was implemented for the NCAA Tournament in 2015.
Third-seeded Southern California will match up with No. 6 Duke in the quarterfinals. No. 4 Northwestern and No. 7 Kent State moved on to match play for the second consecutive year and match up with No. 5 Stanford and No. 2 Alabama, respectively.
Golf Channel Pregame coverage begins at 9:30 a.m. CT, followed by match play quarterfinals coverage at 10:30 a.m. Golf Channel Pregame will return at 3:00 p.m., looking ahead to the semifinals of match play, with live coverage of the semifinals beginning at 3:30 p.m.