Women's Golf Set for NCAA Regional Play
MALIBU, Calif. Â A little less than a month after winning the West Coast Conference title, the Pepperdine women’s golf team gets back to postseason play with its appearance in the NCAA West Regional, held at Arizona State’s Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz., this Thursday through Saturday (May 7-9).
The Waves, who won their eighth consecutive WCC title and their 11th in 13 years, received the #4 seed at the NCAA West Regional, due in part to their #13 national rating in all three major ranking systems (Golfstat, the Golfweek/Sagarin index and the Golf World/NGCA poll). This is Pepperdine’s 11th consecutive NCAA Regional appearance.
Twenty-one teams are headed to the West Regional, and Pepperdine must finish in the top eight to advance to the NCAA Championships, which are being held May 19-22 at the Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md. The Waves have made eight NCAA Championships appearances in the last 10 years, but missed out in 2008.
This is the third time that Pepperdine has played at Karsten Golf Course (which is par-72 and 6,230 yards) in the NCAA West Regional. The Waves took eighth in 2000 and fourth in 2003, advancing to the NCAA Championships both times. Pepperdine’s players are very familiar with the course, as the Waves took eighth place at the PING/ASU Invitational there on April 3-5.
The full list of teams at the West Regional, in order of their seeding, is: Arizona State, USC, Louisiana State, Pepperdine, Arkansas, San Jose State, Arizona, California, UC Irvine, San Francisco, UNLV, TCU, Texas A&M, Oregon, Long Beach State, Colorado, Texas, Baylor, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Northern Arizona and Oral Roberts.
"It feels really good to be starting the postseason and we’re happy to be staying in the West," Pepperdine Coach Laurie Gibbs said. "We’ve played the course recently and I’m sure we’ll see similar conditions. So everything is very positive."
A single round will be played each day starting at 7 a.m. Live scoring will be posted on golfstat.com.
The Waves’ best finishes in regional play were a tie for first at the 2002 NCAA West Regional and third place at the the 2006 NCAA Central Regional. Former All-American Katherine Hull tied for second place in 2002.
The Waves will send the same five players that won the WCC title Â senior Jayvie Agojo, sophomore Taylore Karle and freshmen Kaitlin Drolson, Lisa McCloskey and Jessica Wallace.
Agojo was the medalist at last month’s WCC Championships. All five players earned All-WCC first team honors (Agojo for the fourth time and Karle for the second time) and McCloskey was voted WCC Freshman of the Year.
Karle (Scottsdale, Ariz./Laurel Springs Academy), a 2008 All-American second teamer, leads the team with a stroke average of 73.77. She also has a team-high four top 10 finishes, six top 20 results and eight sub-par rounds. She is currently ranked #46 in the Golfweek/Sagarin index and #53 by Golfstat.
Agojo (Bangkal, Makati City, Philippines) is a two-time winner of the WCC Championships, having also won the title as a 2006 freshman. She’s a veteran of NCAA play, having competed in the past three regionals and finished in the top 20 at the past two. She is third on the team this season with a 74.73 stroke average, and has three top 10 and four top 20 finishes. She is currently ranked #92 in the Golfweek/Sagarin index and #95 by Golfstat.
The three freshmen are all getting their first taste of NCAA action. Drolson (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif./Torrey Pines HS), who tied for second place at the WCC Championships and has three top 10 finishes, is second on the squad with a 74.70 average. Drolson is ranked #97 in the Golfweek/Sagarin index. McCloskey (Montgomery, Texas/Montgomery HS) has a 75.08 average, and Wallace (Langley, B.C., Canada/Walnut Grove Secondary) is averaging 75.69 strokes.
2008-09 ROSTER Â An extremely young Â but talented Â roster features one senior, two sophomores and five freshmen. Two of the three veterans have won All-American honors, while one of the freshmen is a 2008-09 midseason All-American. After the first three freshmen signed letters-of-intent in fall 2007, Golfweek called the group the nation’s fourth-best recruiting class, but with the additional signing of two more top freshmen in the spring, it’s arguably the best collection of newcomers in the country.
NCAA RECORDS FALL Â Pepperdine’s victory at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown, held at Boulder Creek Golf Club from Oct. 27-29, set multiple NCAA records. The Waves set collegiate records for lowest score (823) and score relative to par (-41), and Lisa McCloskey became the first women’s college player to ever break 200 with her winning score of a 17-under 199.
WAVES WIN OWN EVENT Â Pepperdine hosted its own Wave Invitational for the first time in a decade on March 3-4 and it was a successful event, as the Waves won the team competition by nine strokes and Taylore Karle won the individual title by one stroke. The two-day, 36-hole, six-team event was held at Moopark Country Club. The Waves shot 5-under 283 (tying the sixth best round in school history) in the first round and wound up with a 3-over 579 (tying Pepperdine’s seventh-best 36-hole score). Karle had two subpar rounds and finished with a 5-under 139.
EIGHT STRAIGHT AT WCCs Â Jayvie Agojo won her second WCC title in record-tying fashion, while Pepperdine captured its eighth consecutive team title on April 13-14 at the Hiddenbrooke Golf Course in Vallejo, Calif. Agojo, who also won the 2006 crown as a freshman, shot a 5-over 221 (72-74-75), good for a seven-stroke margin of victory, tying the largest in tournament history. The Waves went into the final round with a two-stroke lead over San Francisco but went on to win by 18 strokes with a 905 (297-304-304).
MORE 2008-09 HONORS Â Lisa McCloskey earned midseason All-American honors from Golfworld and was also that publication’s runner-up for Freshman of the (Mid) Year ... McCloskey was the WCC Player of the Month for October and Jayvie Agojo won it for September ... McCloskey was featured in Sports Illustrated’s "Faces in the Crowd" following her NCAA-record performance ... Taylore Karle was named a preseason All-American second teamer by Golfweek and was ranked #10 on Golf World’s "Players to Watch" list. On Golfweek’s "Top Frosh to Watch," Ayaka Kaneko was #6, McCloskey was #10 and Jessica Wallace was among the next 15 players listed. Kaneko was also listed among the nation’s top 50 players by Golf World.
LAURIE GIBBS Â Recognized by her peers as one of the top collegiate women’s golf coaches in the country, Laurie Gibbs is in her 16th season as head coach of the Pepperdine women’s golf team. Under Gibbs, the Waves have appeared in the NCAA Championships eight times, with seven top 10 finishes and four top five showings, including a program-best second-place result in 2003. Her players have earned All-American honors 17 times. Gibbs has led Pepperdine to West Coast Conference championships in 11 of the last 12 years, including a current streak of eight titles that began in 2002. Gibbs has been honored nine 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.
2007-08 RECAP Â The Waves won the WCC championship for the 10th time, but a 12th-place finish at the NCAA Central Regional denied Pepperdine a ninth NCAA Championships appearance in the last 10 years. Taylore Karle was an All-American, while she, Jayvie Agojo, Leanne Bowditch and Stephanie Gelleni made the All-WCC first team. Laurie Gibbs was named WCC Coach of the Year.
PEPPERDINE GOLF HISTORY Â The last decade has established Pepperdine as one of the nation’s top golf programs. The Waves have appeared in the NCAA Championships eight times, with seven 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 11 of the last 12 years, including a current streak of eight titles that began in 2002.
ABOUT PEPPERDINE Â Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won a total of nine NCAA championships in five different men’s sports Â one of just 14 schools to have accomplished this feat. Of the 14, Pepperdine is the only non-BCS school and has by far the smallest enrollment. The majority of Pepperdine’s teams are ranked nationally year after year and compete for conference and national titles.