Women's Golf Looks For 13th Straight WCC Title Next Week
April 10, 2014
MALIBU, Calif. -- The #9 Pepperdine women's golf team will go for its 13th consecutive West Coast Conference championship next week. Grace Na could win her second straight individual title and her third in four years. If she does, that will also give her seven career victories, tying her for the most in Pepperdine history. Only the Waves' Carolina Llano has previously been the medalist three times at the WCC Championships. Pepperdine has already won three team titles this season.
EVENT INFO -- For the second straight year, the WCC Championships will be held at the par-72, 6,083-yard Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash. Eighteen holes will be played each day between Monday and Wednesday (April 14-16). Live scoring will be available at www.golfstat.com.
FIELD -- Five of the 10 WCC schools sponsor women's golf. In order of Golfweek/Sagarin ranking, they are #9 Pepperdine, #50 Gonzaga, #91 San Francisco, #105 Santa Clara and #113 BYU.
PEPPERDINE LINEUP -- The Waves will send the same veteran group of five players that won the 2013 WCC title. Plus, four of the five were also part of the 2012 championship. The lineup consists of senior Grace Na (Alameda, Calif./Alameda HS), senior Liv Cheng (Auckland, New Zealand/Macleans College), sophomore Marissa Chow (Honolulu, Hawaii/Iolani HS), junior Alina Ching (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) and junior Somin Lee (Denver, Colo./Overland HS).
RANKINGS -- Pepperdine is ranked #9 by Golfweek/Sagarin, #13 by GolfWorld/WGCA and #15 by Golfstat ... Grace Na is ranked #6 by Golfweek/Sagarin and #7 by Golfstat ... Marissa Chow is rated #25 by Golfweek/Sagarin and #33 by Golfstat ... Liv Cheng is #88 by Golfweek/Sagarin.
WCC HISTORY -- Pepperdine has won 15 of the 17 WCC titles ever contested. In the team competition, the Waves' average margin of victory over the last 12 years has been 24.8 strokes (last year Pepperdine finished ahead of Gonzaga by 17 shots). Previous WCC Championships results by the Waves' individuals includes: Cheng (T-8th in 2011, 8th in 2012, T-7th in 2013), Ching (T-6th in 2012, T-3rd in 2013), Chow (T-3rd in 2013), Lee (T-3rd in 2012, T-14th in 2013) and Na (1st in 2011, T-12th in 2012, 1st in 2013). The Waves have had all five players in their lineup make the All-WCC first team six times overall, and have had at least four make the first team 11 straight years. Pepperdine has also had the medalist at 14 of 17 tournaments.
NA -- A three-time All-American, Grace Na is on her way to finishing up one of the top careers in Pepperdine history. Na currently has a career scoring average of 72.93, #1 all-time at Pepperdine. Her 2013-14 scoring average of 71.67 is on pace to break the single-season record that she set last year.
As a 2012-13 junior, Na earned All-American first team status from both Golfweek and the WGCA. She set Pepperdine's single-season scoring record with a 72.17 average, and finished #8 and #9 in the Golfstat and Golfweek/Sagarin final rankings, respectively.
A three-time WCC Player of the Year and an eight-time WCC Player of the Month, Na has earned medalist honors six times in her career, including twice this season (the Golfweek Conference Challenge and the Anuenue Spring Break Classic). Only Katherine Hull has won more titles (seven between 2000-03).
Twenty-eight of Na's 35 tournaments have resulted in a top-20 finish (tied for third in Pepperdine history), and 19 have been top-10 results (fourth in program history).
CHOW -- With a scoring average of 72.92 that's on pace to be the sixth-best figure in school single-season history, Marissa Chow has had an excellent sophomore season. She's had seven top-20 finishes this year, which leads the team. She's been the top-finishing Wave (or tied for the lead) at four tournaments this season.
CHENG -- Senior Liv Cheng (along with Grace Na) could become the ninth and 10th players in school history to earn four-time All-WCC first team honors. Cheng is third on the team with a 74.38 scoring average and she's had four top-20 finishes. She's been a WCGA All-American Scholar twice and made the WCC All-Academic team each of the last two years.
2013-14 AWARDS -- In preseason, Grace Na was listed eighth on Golf World's 50 players to watch this season, and 10th on Golfweek's list of the nation's top players ... Na earned WCC Player of the Month honors for September and March (the seventh and eighth times in her career that she's won the award) ... Marissa Chow earned WCC Player of the Month honors for October (her first time winning the award) ... Five Waves -- Na, Chow, Liv Cheng, Aling Ching and Somin Lee -- were named to the All-WCC preseason first team ... The Waves were Golfweek's Team of the Week after winning the Golfweek Conference Challenge, and Na was Player of the Week after earning medalist honors ... Na was invited to join a select group of collegians at a Curtis Cup practice session in January.
BACK-TO-BACK -- The Waves won their first two tournaments of the season, the Dick McGuire Invitational and the Golfweek Conference Challenge, in a span of six days. It's the third time in school history that Pepperdine won each of the first two tournaments of the season (fall 2005, 2009 and 2013). In 2009, the Waves also won the McGuire and Golfweek events, but in reverse order. That season, the Waves went on to finish tied for 14th at the 2010 NCAA Championships.
WIN NUMBER THREE -- In addition to the first two victories in the fall, the Waves also won their last time out at the Anuenue Spring Break Classic. This is the first time that Pepperdine has won three team championships since 2009-10. A fourth would be the most since 2005-06 (a season in which the Waves finished third at the NCAA Championships).
ROSTER -- The Waves welcomed back all six players from last year's squad and added two new freshmen to the team. The breakdown is three seniors, two juniors, one sophomore and two freshmen. Senior Grace Na and Liv Cheng both entered the season as three-time All-WCC first teamers, while junior Alina Ching has made it twice and junior Somin Lee and Marissa Chow have both been selected to the first team once. Senior Danielle Gillaspy (Santa Maria, Calif./St. Joseph's HS) is one of three team captains along with Cheng and Na. The Waves went international to add their two newest players: freshmen Alessandra Arza (Asuncion, Paraguay) and Andrea Unson (Manilla, Philippiines).
McGUIRE -- Pepperdine won New Mexico's Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational (Sept. 20-21) by 12 strokes and shot an 11-under 865, the fifth-best team score in program history. Marissa Chow (6-under 213) was second, Somin Lee tied for third and Grace Na was fifth.
GOLFWEEK -- The Waves won the Golfweek Conference Challenge (Sept. 23-25), held at Red Sky Golf Club in Wolcott, Colo., by a remarkable 36 strokes. Pepperdine shot a 5-over 869. Grace Na (6-under 210) was medalist and Marissa Chow was second.
BRUIN WAVE -- Pepperdine UCLA co-hosted the fifth annual Bruin Wave Invitational at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif., again this spring (March 3-4). The Waves finished in an impressive second place, ending up behind only #1 USC while beating #2 UCLA and three other schools in the top 12. Grace Na and Marissa Chow both tied for fourth place (even-par 216).
ANUENUE -- The Waves' third win of the season came at the Anuenue Spring Break Classic in Hawaii on March 24-26. Pepperdine shot a 6-over 870 and defeated then-#7 Washington by nine strokes. Grace Na won the individual title with a career-best 11-under 205 (which was the third-best 54-hole score in school history).
SUMMER 2013 STANDOUTS -- Na played in the U.S. Amateur for the fourth time, while Cheng competed in the event for the first time. Both reached match play, with Na advancing to the round of 32 ... Na also reached the round of 16 at the U.S. Public Links Championship.
ONLINE -- Follow the Pepperdine golf team on Facebook at Pepperdine Women's Golf or on Twitter at @WavesGolf.
PEPPERDINE GOLF HISTORY -- Under the direction of Laurie Gibbs, who is now in her 21st season as head coach, Pepperdine has been established as one of the nation's top golf programs. The Waves have appeared in the NCAA Championships 11 times in 15 years, with eight top-10 finishes and four top-five showings, including a program-best second-place result in 2003. The Waves have won West Coast Conference championships in 15 of the last 16 years, including a current streak of 12 titles that began in 2002. Eleven different players have earned All-American honors a total of 24 times. LPGA Tour players have included Katherine Hull, Lindsey Wright, Tamie Durdin, Nadina (Taylor) Light, Misun Cho, Carolina Llano, Danielle Kang and Taylore Karle. Hull was the 2003 National Player of the Year and was inducted into the WGCA Hall of Fame in 2012. Kang won back-to-back U.S. Amateur Championships in 2010 and 2011. Gibbs has been honored 11 times as the WCC's Coach of the Year, was tabbed the West Region Coach of the Year on two occasions and was selected the 2004-05 National Coach of the Year by Golfweek magazine.
ABOUT PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY -- Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won NCAA Division I championships in five different men's sports - one of just 16 schools to have accomplished this feat - and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest undergraduate enrollment and is the only school not affiliated with a BCS-level conference. The Waves have earned the Division I-AAA All-Sports Trophy, an award based on postseason success that's given to the top non-football school, three times (most recently in 2011-12). Located in scenic Malibu, Calif., the university overlooks the Pacific Ocean and its campus and athletic facilities are regularly voted among the nation's most beautiful. Pepperdine, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, ranks #57 overall on U.S. News and World Report's list of America's best colleges.