KU Women’s Golf Historic Season Continues as Jayhawks Advance to NCAA Championship
STILLWATER, Okla. – The Kansas women’s golf team advanced to the NCAA Championship for only the second time in school history Saturday.
Entering Saturday’s final 18 holes in 10th place, the Jayhawks leaped five spots in with a final-round 300 (+12) and finished in a tie for fifth at the NCAA Central Regional at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma, qualifying them for the NCAA Championship, May 20-23, at the Tulsa Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“Going to Nationals is a tremendous accomplishment,” head coach Erin O’Neil said. “It’s a goal we have been working towards for a while. It’s nice to see the hard work pay off and it only motivates us to see how much higher we can rise in the future.”
Kansas was led by junior Minami Levonowich who shot a 1-over par 73 Saturday. Levonowich ended the three-day event with a 222 (+6), placing her in a tie for 19th in the 124-golf field. Levonowich’s 222 tied her Kansas career-low tournament total, as she accomplished this feat behind four birdies on the final day. Through the tournament Levonowich carded seven total birdies and one eagle.
The 40th-ranked Jayhawks finished the NCAA Central Region in a tie for fifth with a tournament total of 899 (+35) in the 24-team field with the top eight advancing to compete for the national title. As KU advances in the postseason it will be competing in the NCAA Championship as a team for the first time since 1990 when the Jayhawks were an automatic qualifier by winning the Big Eight Championship.
Seniors Thanuttra “Fhong” Boonraksasat and Meghan Potee stepped up big for the Jayhawks Saturday as both carded a third-round 74 (+2). Fhong’s three-round 229 (+13) placed her in a tie for 45th, while Potee finished a tie for 66th with a tournament total of 233 (+17).
Kansas freshman Pornvipa “Faii” Sakdee ended her tournament with a 79 (+7) Saturday, bringing her tournament total to 231 (+15), placing her in a tie for 51st.
Sophomore Yupaporn “Mook” Kawinpakorn had a strong outing the first two rounds for the Jayhawks but struggled Saturday as she carded a third round 80 (+8). Mook ended the event in a tie for 24th with a three round score of 224 (+8).
“The team played with a lot of heart,” O’Neil said. “Our seniors stepped up and really played a solid round in tough conditions today. Minami (Levonowich) finished strong as well and played her last four holes two-under par.”
UCLA won the central region with a three-round 875 (+11). Alabama finished 17-strokes back in second place with a tournament total of 892 (+28). Also qualifying for the NCAA Championship was Mississippi State at third with a 893 (+29) followed by fourth-place California at 894 (+30), then Kansas and Ohio State at 899 (+35) and Arizona seventh at 901 (+37). Florida and Oklahoma State tied for eighth at 902 (+38) with the Gators advancing due to a tiebreaker.
Kent State’s Wad Phaewchimplee won the NCAA Central Regional shooting subpar in all three-rounds and finishing with a 209 (-7), five strokes ahead of Dana Finkelstein of UNLV and Emma Talley of Alabama who tied for second at 214 (-2).
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