Na's Run of Birdies Leads Waves at NCAA West Regional

Grace Na

May 6, 2011

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AUBURN, Wash. - A run of five birdies over a six-hole stretch by freshman Grace Na highlighted the Pepperdine women's golf team's play during Friday's second round of the NCAA West Regional. With a 3-under 69, Na moved into the top 10 on the individual leaderboard.

The Waves had a much better round their second time out, with a 299 that equaled the sixth-best score of the day. With just Saturday's final round to go at the par-72 Washington National Golf Course, Pepperdine is now tied for 15th place at 617 (318-299).

Only the top eight teams advance to the NCAA Championships, and though the Waves were able to pass six teams in the standings on Friday, the Waves are 14 strokes back of eighth place.

Pepperdine could still be represented at the NCAA Championships with another strong round by Na, however. The freshman, who was the medalist at the West Coast Conference Championships, is now tied for eighth place with a 1-over 145 (76-69). The top two individuals on non-qualifying teams will also advance to the national championships. Currently, there are two players with even-par 144s - just one stroke ahead of Na - that would qualify ahead of her.

Na (Alameda, Calif./Alameda HS) was 2-over after four holes on Friday, but a birdie on the par-3 fifth hole got things going. That was the first of four consecutive birdies, and after a par on the ninth hole, she birdied the 10th to put her at 3-under. Na would bogey the 12th hole, but then had five straight pars before finishing her round with her sixth birdie of the day on the 18th. Her performance moved her all the way up from a tie for 41st place.

Na has nine birdies over her two rounds, tied for second-most in the tournament.

Senior Taylore Karle (Scottsdale, Ariz./Laurel Springs Academy) also had a very good day, shooting a 1-over 73 that moved her up 16 spots and into a tie for 25th place at 149 (76-73). She birdied the fifth hole, then weathered three straight bogeys before posting eight pars and one birdie on the back nine.

Freshman Danielle Gillaspy (Santa Maria, Calif./St. Joseph' HS), who moved into the lineup after Danielle Kang was ruled academically ineligible at the start of this week, shot her second straight 78 and is tied for 63rd place at 156. She recorded 14 pars on Friday and only ran into trouble on a couple of holes.

Junior Kaitlin Drolson (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif./Torrey Pines HS) improved her score by nine strokes and is now tied for 121st place at 167 (88-79). Freshman Liv Cheng (Auckland, New Zealand) came back from a disqualification in the first round to shoot an 84 in the second.

Pepperdine, which is making its 13th consecutive regional appearance, is trying for its 11th NCAA Championships berth. On Saturday, the Waves will tee off the 10th hole beginning at 12:30 p.m. along with San Diego State and UTSA.

Team Scores: 1. USC 288-284=572; 2. Tennessee 292-287=579; 3. Virginia 290-301=591; 4. UC Davis 300-292=592; 5. Arizona 303-293=596; 6. Washington 304-294=598; 7. South Carolina 303-299=602; T8. Texas A&M 301-302=603; T8. Oregon 302-301=603; 10. Iowa State 305-306=611; T11. BYU 303-311=614; T11. Denver 307-307=614; T13. Portland State 305-311=616; T13. Oklahoma 316-300=616; T15. Pepperdine 318-299=617; T15. Georgia 314-303=617; 17. San Diego State 310-311=621; 18. UTSA 311-313=624; 19. Tulsa 310-315=625; 20. New Mexico 310-318=628; 21. San Jose State 315-316=631; T22. New Mexico State 319-315=634; T22. Oral Roberts 320-314=634; 24. Texas-El Paso 321-324=645.

Top Individuals: 1. Erica Popson (Tennessee) 68-69=137; 2. Lizette Salas (USC) 73-67=140; 3. Demi Runas (UC Davis) 69-72=141; 4. Sophia Popov (USC) 69-73=142; T5. three tied at 144.

Pepperdine Scores: T8. Grace Na 76-69=145; T25. Taylore Karle 76-73=149; T63. Danielle Gillaspy 78-78=156; 121. Kaitlin Drolson 88-79=167; Liv Cheng DQ-84.



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