Women's Golf Set for NCAA East Regional This Weekend
The Waves are trying to qualify for the NCAA Championships for the 12th time in 16 years.
May 5, 2014
MALIBU, Calif. -- The 10th-ranked Pepperdine women's golf team has advanced to the NCAA Championships after all three of its previous trips to an East Regional. The Waves will try to make it 4-for-4 as they have earned the #5 seed at the 2014 NCAA East Regional being hosted by Florida State. Pepperdine has won four tournaments this year, the team's most since 2006, including its 13th consecutive West Coast Conference title.
EVENT INFO -- The NCAA East Regional will be held at the par-72, 6,257-yard SouthWood Golf Club in Tallahassee, Fla. Eighteen holes will be played each day between Thursday and Saturday (May 8-10). The Waves will be paired with Vanderbilt and Central Florida the first two days. They tee off the 10th hole beginning at 8:51 a.m. ET on Thursday, and off the first hole at 1:11 p.m. ET on Friday. Saturday's tee times will be determined by the previous two days' results. Live scoring will be available at www.golfstat.com.
FIELD -- In order of seeding, the 24 schools that will compete at the East Regional are: Duke, South Carolina, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Pepperdine, Central Florida, Virginia, Auburn, North Carolina State, Florida State, Kentucky, Tulane, Louisville, Baylor, East Tennessee State, Georgia, Campbell, East Carolina, Texas State, College of Charleston, Troy, Murray State, Seton Hall and Alabama State.
PEPPERDINE LINEUP -- The Waves will send the same veteran group of five players that won the 2013 and 2014 WCC titles and that competed at the 2013 NCAA West Regional. The lineup consists of seniors Grace Na (Alameda, Calif./Alameda HS) and Liv Cheng (Auckland, New Zealand/Macleans College), juniors Alina Ching (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) and Somin Lee (Denver, Colo./Overland HS) and sophomore Marissa Chow (Honolulu, Hawaii/Iolani HS).
RANKINGS -- Pepperdine is ranked #10 by Golfweek/Sagarin, #12 by GolfWorld/WGCA and #14 by Golfstat ... Grace Na is ranked #11 by Golfweek/Sagarin and #11 by Golfstat ... Marissa Chow is rated #26 by Golfweek/Sagarin and #29 by Golfstat ... Liv Cheng is #81 by Golfweek/Sagarin.
ONLINE -- Follow the Pepperdine golf team on Facebook at Pepperdine Women's Golf or on Twitter at @WavesGolf.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS -- The top eight teams (and two non-qualifying individuals) at the East Regional will move on to the NCAA Championships, which will be hosted by Tulsa at Tulsa (Okla.) Country Club from May 20-23. Pepperdine's last appearance was in 2012 (21st place). The Waves have finished in the top 10 at nationals eight times, including a program-best second-place result in 2003.
NCAA REGIONAL HISTORY -- Pepperdine is making its 16th NCAA Regional appearance (all of which have come consecutively in the last 16 years). Pepperdine has advanced to the NCAA Championships 11 of the previous 15 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, T-10th in 2012, T-30th in 2013; Alina Ching T-41st in 2012, T-99th in 2013; Marissa Chow T-26th in 2013; Somin Lee T-6th in 2012, T-103rd in 2013; Grace Na T-18th in 2011, T-26th in 2012, T-18th in 2013.
This is the fourth time that the Waves have been placed in the East Regional. Pepperdine has advanced in each of the previous three (2001, 2005, 2010).
NA -- A three-time All-American, Grace Na is on her way to finishing up one of the top careers in Pepperdine history. Na currently has a career scoring average of 72.94, #1 all-time at Pepperdine. Her 2013-14 scoring average of 71.85 is on pace to break the single-season record that she set last year.
As a 2012-13 junior, Na earned All-American first team status from both Golfweek and the WGCA. She set Pepperdine's single-season scoring record with a 72.17 average, and finished #8 and #9 in the Golfstat and Golfweek/Sagarin final rankings, respectively.
She is the WCC's first-ever four-time WCC Player of the Year, as well as an eight-time WCC Player of the Month. Na has earned medalist honors six times in her career, including twice this season (the Golfweek Conference Challenge and the Anuenue Spring Break Classic). Only Katherine Hull has won more titles for Pepperdine (seven between 2000-03).
Twenty-nine of Na's 36 tournaments have resulted in a top-20 finish (third in Pepperdine history), and 20 have been top-10 results (fourth in program history). She's recorded 35 below-par rounds (second in school history).
CHOW -- With a scoring average of 72.93 that's on pace to be the sixth-best figure in school single-season history, Marissa Chow has had an excellent sophomore season. She's had eight top-20 finishes in nine events this year, which leads the team. Chow has been the top-finishing Wave (or tied for the lead) at five tournaments this season. The two-time All-WCC first teamer has placed in the top 13 at each of the last four tournaments and has come in second place three times this season.
CHENG -- Senior Liv Cheng has become one of 10 players in school history to have earned four-time All-WCC first team honors. Cheng is third on the team with a career-best 74.22 scoring average and she's had five top-20 finishes. She's been a WCGA All-American Scholar twice and made the WCC All-Academic first team each of the last three years. Cheng has accumulated 115 career rounds, tied for 10th all-time at Pepperdine.
2013-14 AWARDS -- Grace Na was named WCC Player of the Year for the fourth year in a row ... Na, Liv Cheng, Marissa Chow and Somin Lee made the All-WCC first team (Na and Cheng for the fourth time, Chow and Lee for the second time) ... Alina Ching was All-WCC honorable mention ... Cheng and Ching made the WCC All-Academic first team ... In preseason, Na was listed eighth on Golf World's 50 players to watch this season, and 10th on Golfweek's list of the nation's top players ... Na earned WCC Player of the Month honors for September and March (the seventh and eighth times in her career that she's won the award) ... Chow earned WCC Player of the Month honors for October (her first time winning the award) ... The Waves were Golfweek's Team of the Week after winning the Golfweek Conference Challenge, and Na was Player of the Week after earning medalist honors ... Na was invited to join a select group of collegians at a Curtis Cup practice session in January.
FOUR WINS -- Pepperdine has won four team titles in one season for the first time since 2005-06 (a season in which the Waves finished third at the NCAA Championships). The Waves won their first two tournaments of the season in a span of six days. It was the third time in school history that Pepperdine won each of the first two tournaments of the season (fall 2005, 2009 and 2013).
McGUIRE -- Pepperdine won the season-opening Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational (Sept. 20-21) in New Mexico by 12 strokes and shot an 11-under 865, the fifth-best team score in program history. Marissa Chow (6-under 213) was second, Somin Lee tied for third and Grace Na was fifth.
GOLFWEEK -- The Waves won the Golfweek Conference Challenge (Sept. 23-25), held at Red Sky Golf Club in Wolcott, Colo., by a remarkable 36 strokes (most in a non-WCC Championships event since 2006). Pepperdine shot a 5-over 869. Grace Na (6-under 210) was medalist and Marissa Chow was second.
BRUIN WAVE -- Pepperdine and UCLA co-hosted the fifth annual Bruin Wave Invitational at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif., again this spring (March 3-4). The Waves finished in an impressive second place, ending up behind only #1 USC while beating #2 UCLA and three other schools in the top 12. Grace Na and Marissa Chow both tied for fourth place (even-par 216).
ANUENUE -- The Waves' third win of the season came at the Anuenue Spring Break Classic in Hawaii on March 24-26. Pepperdine shot a 6-over 870 and defeated then-#7 Washington by nine strokes. Grace Na won the individual title with a career-best 11-under 205 (which was the third-best 54-hole score in school history).
WCC CHAMPIONSHIPS -- Pepperdine increased its lead day-by-day and captured its 13th consecutive WCC title at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash., on April 14-16. The Waves finished 17 shots better than runner-up Gonzaga. In somewhat of an upset, Pepperdine didn't produce the medalist for only the fourth time in 18 championship events. Still, the Waves had four golfers place in the top seven, led by Liv Cheng and Marissa Chow in a tie for second place.
ROSTER -- The Waves welcomed back all six players from last year's squad and added two new freshmen to the team. The breakdown is three seniors, two juniors, one sophomore and two freshmen. Of those not going to Regionals, senior Danielle Gillaspy (Santa Maria, Calif./St. Joseph's HS) is one of three team captains along with the Waves' other two seniors, while the Waves went international to add their two newest players in freshmen Alessandra Arza (Asuncion, Paraguay) and Andrea Unson (Manilla, Philippiines).
SUMMER 2013 STANDOUTS -- Grace Na played in the U.S. Amateur for the fourth time, while Liv Cheng competed in the event for the first time. Both reached match play, with Na advancing to the round of 32 ... Na also reached the round of 16 at the U.S. Public Links Championship.
GIBBS AND PEPPERDINE GOLF HISTORY -- Under the direction of Laurie Gibbs, who is now in her 21st season as head coach, Pepperdine has been established as one of the nation's top golf programs. The Waves have appeared in the NCAA Championships 11 times in 15 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 16 of the last 17 years, including a current streak of 13 titles that began in 2002. Eleven different players have earned All-American honors a total of 24 times. LPGA Tour players have included Katherine Hull, Lindsey Wright, Tamie Durdin, Nadina (Taylor) Light, Misun Cho, Carolina Llano, Danielle Kang and Taylore Karle. Hull was the 2003 National Player of the Year and was inducted into the WGCA Hall of Fame in 2012. 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.
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 undergraduate enrollment and is the only school not affiliated with a BCS-level conference. The Waves have earned the Division I-AAA All-Sports Trophy, an award based on postseason success that's given to the top non-football school, three times (most recently 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 #57 overall on U.S. News and World Report's list of America's best colleges.