Women's Golf Opens NCAA Regional Play at Stanford on Thursday
May 7, 2013
MALIBU, Calif. -- After yet another victory at the West Coast Conference Championships, the Pepperdine women's golf team moves on to its next goal of qualifying for the NCAA Championships. The Waves will compete at the NCAA West Regional, hosted by Stanford, this Thursday through Saturday. Pepperdine has the advantage of recently playing the course after having taken part in the Stanford Intercollegiate in the fall. The Waves, who are seeded ninth, are aiming for their 12th NCAA Championships appearance in 15 years.
WEST REGIONAL INFO -- The tournament will be held at the par-71, 6,267-yard Stanford Golf Course in Palo Alto, Calif. Teams will play 18 holes each day between Thursday and Saturday (May 9-11) starting at 7:30 a.m. The Waves will tee off #1 on Thursday at 7:30 a.m. and #10 on Friday at 11:50 a.m. For both of the first two rounds, Pepperdine will be paired with Baylor and Texas A&M. Live scoring will be provided at www.golfstat.com.
FIELD -- The top eight teams (and the top two individuals not on advancing teams) will continue on to the NCAA Championships. In order of seeding, the 24-team field consists of USC, Arizona, Vanderbilt, Purdue, Stanford, Georgia, Baylor, Texas A&M, Pepperdine, LSU, Denver, South Carolina, Ohio State, Oregon, UNLV, California, Florida State, Miami (Fla.), San Jose State, Harvard, Kent State, Northern Arizona, North Dakota State and Long Island.
RANKINGS -- Pepperdine is rated #25 by Golfstat and #29 by Golfweek/Sagarin. The Waves were receiving votes in the most recent Golf World/WGCA coaches' poll ... Individually, Grace Na is #5 nationally by Golfstat and #7 by Golfweek/Sagarin, while Marissa Chow is #75 by Golfweek/Sagarin and #77 by Golfstat.
PEPPERDINE LINEUP -- The Waves will send the same lineup that won the WCC title: juniors Liv Cheng (Auckland, New Zealand/Macleans College) and Grace Na (Alameda, Calif./Alameda HS), sophomores Alina Ching (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) and Somin Lee (Denver, Colo./Overland HS) and freshman Marissa Chow (Honolulu, Hawaii/Iolani HS). The four veterans were part of last year's team that finished third at the NCAA West Regional and advanced to the NCAA Championships.
NCAA REGIONALS -- Pepperdine is making its 15th NCAA Regional appearance (all of which have come consecutively in the last 15 years). Pepperdine has advanced to the NCAA Championships 11 of the previous 14 years. The Waves' best-ever finish at a regional was a tie for first place at the 2002 NCAA West Regional. The top individual result was a tie for second by Katherine Hull in 2002.
At previous NCAA Regionals, the current Waves' individual results are as follows: Liv Cheng DQ in 2011 and T-10th in 2012; Alina Ching T-41st in 2012; Somin Lee T-6th in 2012; Grace Na T-18th in 2011 and T-26th in 2012.
This is the 10th time the Waves have been placed in the West Regional. Pepperdine has advanced in seven of the previous nine. This is the third time Pepperdine has played in an NCAA West Regional at Stanford (the Waves tied for first place in 2002 and did not advance in 2004).
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS -- The goal is to advance to the NCAA Championships, which will be hosted by Georgia at the University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Ga., from May 21-24.
NA -- She's just a junior but Grace Na has already been rewarded as a two-time All-American honorable mention selection as well as being named the WCC Player of the Year in each of her three seasons. She's having her best season yet in 2012-13. Na, who is ranked in the top 10 nationally, has finished in the top 20 at all nine tournaments, in the top 10 seven times, and has two victories. Na's season stroke average of 72.11 currently ranks #1 on the Waves' single-season list (.08 ahead of Katherine Hull's 2001-02 season).
Na won the `Anuenue Spring Break Classic in March and shot a 10-under 206, tied for the third-best 54-hole score in Pepperdine history. Two tournaments later, she won the WCC Championships for the second time with a 3-under 213.
Twenty-two of her 26 career tournaments have resulted in a top-20 finish (with 14 top 10s). Her career stroke average of 73.33 currently ranks #1 in Pepperdine history (.11 better than Lindsey Wright). Also on Pepperdine's career records list, she's fifth in sub-par rounds (22), tied for seventh in top 20 finishes and tied for eighth in top 10 results.
Na's previous wins came at the 2011 Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown (where she tied a then-NCAA record with a 9-under 63 in the first round) and the 2011 WCC Championships.
CHOW -- Marissa Chow has come on tremendously this spring and heads into the NCAA Regionals with four straight top-10 finishes. The freshman is second on the team with a 74.26 stroke average and has five top-20 and four top-10 finishes in her nine events.
2012-13 HONORS -- Grace Na was named the WCC Player of the Year for the third straight year ... Na, Liv Cheng, Alina Ching and Marissa Chow all made the All-WCC first team, while Somin Lee was honorable mention ... Na was named WCC Player of the Month for September, October and March (her third, fourth and fifth times winning the award) ... Cheng and Ching made the WCC All-Academic first team (Cheng for the second time) ... Cheng was named an Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar for the second time ... Na was a preseason All-American second teamer by Golfweek and one of the nation's top 50 players to watch by Golf World ... Chow was named one of the nation's top 20 freshmen by Golfweek ... Golfweek magazine named Pepperdine its national team of the week after the win at the Golfweek Conference Challenge.
WCC CHAMPIONSHIPS -- Pepperdine won its 12th consecutive West Coast Conference title in mid-April and finished 17 strokes better than runner-up Gonzaga. The Waves led wire to wire, taking a five-shot lead after the first round and 17 after the second round. Grace Na also led throughout for her second WCC individual title. Her 3-under 213 won by two shots. Alina Ching and Marissa Chow tied for third place.
GOLFWEEK CONFERENCE CHALLENGE -- The Waves became the first two-time winner of the Golfweek Conference Challenge, held at the Red Sky Golf Club in Vail, Colo., in late September. Pepperdine also won the inaugural event in 2009. The Waves, who were the co-leader after the first round and a two-shot leader after the second, ended up winning the tournament by five strokes over UC Davis. The team's 54-hole score of 4-under was the sixth-best figure in program history.
ROSTER -- Five of six players are returning from last season's team (including four of five from the lineup at the 2012 NCAA Championships), though there isn't a single senior on the Waves' roster this year. One new freshman brings the total number of players back up to six. The breakdown is three juniors, two sophomores and one freshman.
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 20th season as head coach, the last decade-plus has established Pepperdine as one of the nation's top golf programs. The Waves have appeared in the NCAA Championships 11 times in 14 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 23 times. LPGA Tour players have included Katherine Hull, Lindsey Wright, Tamie Durdin, Nadina (Taylor) Light, Misun Cho, Carolina Llano, Danielle Kang and Taylore Karle. 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.
HULL -- Former Pepperdine great and current LPGA veteran Katherine Hull has received multiple honors this past year for her play with the Waves. She was inducted into the Women's Golf Coaches Association Players' Hall of Fame last December, and was put into the West Coast Conference's Hall of Honor in March. Hull was the 2003 national player of the year and the Dinah Shore Award winner.
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 enrollment and is the only school not associated with a BCS conference. The Waves earned the Division I-AAA All-Sports Trophy, an award based on postseason success that's given to the top non-football school, for the third time 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 #54 overall on U.S. News and World Report's list of America's best colleges.