Women's Golf Goes For 12th Straight WCC Title Next Week
Pepperdine's average margin of victory the last 11 years has been 25.5 strokes.
April 12, 2013
EVENT INFO -- The tournament will be held at the par-72, 6,083/6,049-yard Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash. Teams will play 18 holes each day between Monday and Wednesday (April 15-17). Live scoring will be provided at www.golfstat.com.
FIELD -- Five of the nine WCC schools sponsor women's golf. In addition to Pepperdine, BYU, Gonzaga, San Francisco and Santa Clara will be competing next week. Also, CSU Bakersfield takes part as an affiliate member, giving the conference six schools, enough for an NCAA automatic bid.
RANKINGS -- Pepperdine is rated #24 by Golfstat and #30 by Golfweek/Sagarin. The Waves are receiving votes in the Golf World/WGCA coaches' poll ... Individually, Grace Na is #10 nationally by both Golfweek/Sagarin and Golfstat, while Marissa Chow is #77 by Golfweek/Sagarin and #87 by Golfstat.
PEPPERDINE LINEUP -- The Waves will send a familiar lineup to the WCC Championships: 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 championship team. Na and Cheng also won in 2011 (Na was the medalist).
WCC HISTORY -- In the team competition, the Waves' average margin of victory over the last 11 years has been 25.5 strokes (last year's six-stroke margin over USF was the closest finish during this run). Previous WCC Championships results by the Waves' individuals includes: Cheng (T-8th in 2011, 8th in 2012), Ching (T-6th in 2012), Lee (T-3rd in 2012) and Na (1st in 2011, T-12th in 2012). The Waves have had all five players in their lineup make the All-WCC first team six times overall, and have had at least four make the first team 10 straight years. Last year was the first time that a Wave wasn't the medalist since 2001.
NA -- Grace Na has already been rewarded as a two-time All-American honorable mention selection and a two-time WCC Player of the Year in her young career. She's having her best season yet as a junior. She has finished in the top 20 at all eight tournaments, and in the top 10 six times. Na's season stroke average of 72.25 currently ranks #2 on the Waves' single-season list (just .06 behind Katherine Hull for the top spot). She won the `Anuenue Spring Break Classic in March, her third collegiate title, and shot a 10-under 206, tied for the third-best 54-hole score in Pepperdine history.
Twenty-one of her 25 career tournaments have resulted in a top-20 finish (with 13 top 10s). Her career stroke average of 73.43 currently ranks #1 in Pepperdine history (.01 better than Lindsey Wright). Also on Pepperdine's career records list, she's fifth in sub-par rounds (20), tied for eighth in top 20 finishes and ninth 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 WCC Championships with three straight top-10 finishes. She's a prime candidate for WCC Freshman of the Year honors (a Wave has won the award each of the last 13 years). Chow is second on the team with a 74.29 stroke average and has four top-20 and three top-10 finishes in her eight events.
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.
2012-13 HONORS -- Grace Na was named a preseason All-American second teamer by Golfweek and one of the nation's top 50 players to watch by Golf World ... Na was named WCC Player of the Month for September, October and March (her third, fourth and fifth times winning the award) ... Liv Cheng and Alina Ching made the WCC All-Academic first team (Cheng for the second time) ... Marissa 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 ... The WCC preseason coaches poll predicted that the Waves would win their 12th straight conference title, and Cheng, Ching and Na were on the preseason All-WCC team.
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 Twitter at @wavesgolf or on Facebook at Pepperdine Women's Golf.
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 14 of the last 15 years, including a current streak of 11 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 in a major conference. 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.