AUBURN, ALA. - North Carolina's 11th-ranked women's golf team fired a 305 in final round of the NCAA East Regional to finish in 10th place with an 887 total. The Tar Heels failed to advance on to the NCAA Championships as the top eight teams and top two individuals not on those eight teams continue their seasons. Juniors Jackie Chang and Casey Grice led the Tar Heels on Saturday at both fired a 1-over-par 73.
Chang was in a playoff for the second of two individual spots with two Tennessee players, Erica Popson and Chessey Thomas, who all concluded regulation play at 3-under 213. Popson defeated Chang and Thomas in the first hole of a sudden death playoff for the No. 2 spot and the chance to move on to the NCAA Championships.
"Unfortunately, we had a difficult day today," says Tar Heel head coach Jan Mann. "We are disappointed for the team, but know they will bounce back next year. However, Jackie had a great tournament and lost in the first playoff hole to a birdie for an individual spot to the NCAA Championships. We are very proud of this team and what they have accomplished this year."
Chang, from Scottsdale, Ariz., carded four birdies and five bogeys en route to her 1-over-par 73. She tied for eighth place with a 3-under 213 total. Grice posted four birdies, three bogeys and one double bogey for her 1-over 73. The native of College Station, Texas, tied for 26th place with a 2-over 218 total. Elizabeth Mallett, a freshman from Sutton Coldfield, England, carded a 7-over 79 for a 7-over 223 total to tied for 44th place. Katherine Perry, a junior from Cary, N.C., posted an 80 for a 233 total to tie for 93rd while Maia Schechter, a sophomore from Takoma Park, Md., shot 81 to finish 109th with a 239 total.
Top-seed Alabama captured the team title by shooting a 2-over-par 290 in the final round for a 20-under 844 total. Tulane was the runner-up, eight strokes back at 12-under 852 after firing a 4-under 284 on Saturday. Arkansas and Oklahoma State tied for third place at even par 864. Texas finished in fifth place at 7-over 871 while Northwestern placed sixth at 874, UCLA seventh at 875 and host Auburn finished eighth with an 875 total. Those are the eight teams that advance on to the NCAA Championships May 21-24 in Athens, Ga.
Stephanie Meadow of Alabama won the individual title by firing a 3-under 69 for a 13-under 203 total. Kelly Shon of Princeton was the runner-up, finishing six strokes back at 7-under 209. Madison Opfer of Tulane finished in third place at 6-under 210. Three players tied for fourth place at 5-under 211 - Alabama's Emma Tallen and Jennifer Kirby and Tulane's Emily Penttila. Julie Yang of Oklahoma State finished seventh at 4-under 212 while another three players tied for eighth place at 3-under 213 - Carolina's Chang and Tennessee's Erica Popson and Chessey Thomas. Princeton's Shon and Tennessee's Thomas grabbed the two individual spots and advance on to the NCAA Championships.
The 54-hole event was played at Auburn University Club which features a par 72, 6,259-yard layout. The top eight teams and top two individuals not on those eight teams will advance on to the NCAA Championships to be played May 21-24 at the University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Ga.