Championship Bid Slips Away at Stanford

Photo: Pia Halbig paced the Bears to an 11th-place finish in the NCAA West Regional. The junior All-American dropped to 30th place after entering the third round tied for sixth.
David Herschorn/File
Pia Halbig paced the Bears to an 11th-place finish in the NCAA West Regional. The junior All-American dropped to 30th place after entering the third round tied for sixth.

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Senior Roseanne Niven's last chance at an NCAA Championship appearance slipped through her fingers in the final round of the NCAA West Regional at the Stanford Golf Course on Saturday.

Her scores of 74 and 76 in the first two rounds, which put her in a tie for 28th place, were eclipsed by her 82 on day three. She finished in a tie for 66th.

"I was struggling with my long game," Niven said. "... I gave everything I could over the past year knowing it was my last shot at a championship. It didn't turn out the way I wanted but some things are just not meant to be."

Niven's dwindling performance mirrored her team's standing going through the tournament.

At the end of the first 18 holes on the par-71, 6,103-yard course, the No. 17 Cal women's golf team was in a tie for third. At the end of 36 holes, it was tied for fifth. At the end of the third and final set of 18 holes, it plummeted deep down the list to eleventh place.

With only the top eight of the 24 teams moving on to the NCAA Championships, Cal surrendered the last spot to No. 25 Texas A&M with six strokes separating the two teams.

"Looking back, it appears that our finishing three holes cost us our place at nationals," Niven said. "Knowing that we were that close is painful because as we showed the first two days, we have the ability to compete at the top level in the country."

This is the fourth year in a row the Bears failed to move on - a streak which coincides with Niven's entire stint with the team.

Cal could not maintain its first round pace of 292 (+8), shooting a 305 (+21) in the second round and an even less impressive 312 (+28) in the last round.

Junior Pia Halbig led the way for the Bears, posting a 68 on the first 18 holes - the tournament's second best single-round score - helping her to a 30th place tie with 225.

Sophomore Joanne Lee was close behind with a 227 and Cal's low score of 75 on day three to finish in a tie for 38th.

While Daniela Holmqvist was the only Bear to improve her score in round two, she finished in an individual tie for 76th place with 234. As Cal's last place finisher, she missed the last two tournaments with a sore back.

Freshman Jacqueline Williams filled in seamlessly during that absence. Considering Holmqvist needed time to work back coming off an injury, the results may have been different had Williams stayed in the lineup.

"We had (Daniela) playing through major back pains," Niven said. and the whole team gave everything they could."

Arizona outclassed the competition on its way to the title, posting the lowest score in every round. The Wildcats finished nine strokes ahead of second-place UCLA, making the win look easy.

Virginia's Callie Nelson and San Jose State's Madeline Zeigert tied for individual championships at 214.


Contact Byron Atashian at [email protected]

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