ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Campbell fell just short in its quest for a team berth in the NCAA finals, but Nadine White is headed to the NCAA women's golf championship.
White tied for eighth overall and was one of three individual qualifiers for the NCAA Championship, which starts May 19 at Sugar Grove, Ill. Head Coach John Crooks' Camels finished in ninth place at the NCAA Albuquerque Regional – its fourth-straight top-10 showing in regional play – only five strokes shy of earning a team bid.
After participating in the 2014 and 2015 NCAA Championship when Campbell qualified as a team, White will make Campbell's first individual appearance in the NCAA finals since 2000 when she plays at Rich Harvest Farms in suburban Chicago. In conditions that included wind gusts up to 30 miles per hour on Wednesday, White shot an even-par 72 to finish the 54-hole Albuquerque regional at 2-over 218 (73-73-72).
Albane Valenzuela of Stanford was the regional medalist at 6-under 210 (71-69-70), three strokes ahead of Pepperdine's Tatiana Wijaya (70-72-71—213) and Martina Edberg of Cal State-Fullerton (73-68-72—213). Ana Belac of Duke (73-71-70—214) and Bianca Pagdanganan of Gonzaga (73-69-72—214) tied for fourth. Edberg and Pagdanganan will join White in the NCAA finals as the top three individual finishers in Albuquerque not on qualifying teams.
Top-ranked Stanford won team honors at 2-over 866 (290-283-293), seven strokes ahead of ninth-ranked Duke (297-288-288—873). No.-36 Pepperdine was third (287-290-302—879), five shots better than sixth-ranked Southern California (296-285-303—884). No.-16 Miami (303-288-297—888) and No.-26 California (295-291-302—888) tied for fifth place to claim the final two qualifying spots for the national tournament.
No.-24 NC State finished two shots off national qualifier pace (301-294-295—890), while No.-40 Washington was eighth (295-292-304—891). Ranked 48th in the country and seeded 12th in the event, Campbell finished ninth (297-298-298—893) in the 18-team field, five shots in front of No.-17 Oklahoma State (304-286-308—898).
"When we started off this morning, I could tell they were into it," said Crooks, who was coaching this week in his 20th women's regional in the last 25 years. "It was fun to watch as a coach. Our ladies were competing and making a lot of good shots. The truth is, with three holes to play, we were probably in good shape. We just didn't finish today."
White opened Wednesday's round with a par on the par-four 10th hole; then rolled in a birdie on the par-three 11th. The only blemishes on her scorecard were bogeys on her eighth and ninth holes of the day. She opened her second nine with six-straight pars before making birdie on the par-four seventh. She closed the round with her 13th and 14th pars of the day.
"This is what we worked for all year, going to nationals," said White, who is the top-ranked amateur in Australia and No.-79 in the world. "I scrambled a bit. I made some putts which I haven't been making the last couple of tournaments, so that really helped. I made a lot of four- or five-footers today which really saved me. Overall I was driving the ball well. It was just consistent."
A senior from Brisbane, Australia, White finished the 96-golfer event tied for third in par-four scoring (-1), seventh with 38 pars, 11th on the par-3 holes (even) and 14th with eight birdies on the par-72, 6637-yard UNM Championship Course.
"What Nadine did was really special today," said Crooks. "It was really tough out there, and what she did showed why she's one of the best players in the world."
Campbell's Desiree Andersson, the Big South Conference freshman of the year, tied for 36th (72-74-79—225), while junior Ayelen Irizar tied for 38th (77-75-74—226). Annelie Sjoholm, the Big South golfer of the year, tied for 49th (76-78-74—228) and sophomore Anna Svanka tied for 62nd (76-76-78—230).
"This team can handle a lot of different situations," said Crooks of his Big South Conference champions. "They played really well this week, but we never had anybody play this golf course under par, so we never had that one round where someone carried the team. However, everyone competed and everyone contributed."
2017 NCAA Women's Golf Albuquerque Regional
Albuquerque, N.M. / UNM Championship Course
May 8-10, 2017 / Par 72, 6637 yards
Final Team Results (top 6 qualify for NCAA Championship): 1. Stanford 290-283-293—866, 2. Duke 297-288-288—873, 3. Pepperdine 287-290-302—879, 4. Southern California 295-285-303—884, T5. California 295-291-302—888, T5. Miami 303-288-297—888, 7. NC State 301-294-295—890, 8. Washington 295-292-304--891, 9. Campbell 297-298-298—893, 10. Oklahoma State 304-286-308—898, 11. Illinois 306-287-308—901, 12. Denver 305-300-298—903, 13. SMU 302-301-302—905, 14. New Mexico State 307-297-305—909, 15. Sacramento State 310-298-303—911, 16. Cal Poly 308-312-315—935, 17. Houston Baptist 314-310-326—950, 18. Texas Southern 365-350-355—1070.
Final Individual Leaders: 1. Albane Valenzuela (Stanford) 71-69-70—210, T2. Tatiana Wijaya (Pepperdine) 70-72-71—213, T2. *Martina Edberg (Cal State-Fullerton)^ 73-68-72—213, T4. Ana Belac (Duke) 73-71-70—214, T4.*Bianca Pagdanganan (Gonzaga)^ 73-69-72—214.
*competed as individual
^NCAA Championship individual qualifier