The UCF women’s golf team will have a chance to bring home the first NCAA team championship in school history this week thanks to the Knights’ strong performance at the NCAA Cle Elum Regional in Washington.
The Knights combined for a team score of 874 (10-over par) and thrived under pressure, shooting 8-under-par on the final nine holes of play May 8 to secure their place among the top six teams in the regional to advance to the finals.
American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year Elizabeth Moon, junior all-conference honoree Maria Balcazar, sophomores Ana Laura Collado and Chinatsu Kobayashi and freshman Alyssa Lamoureux represented UCF at the tournament.
Collado tied for the second-best individual score over the three-day regional competition (206, 10-under par) among a field of 96 golfers. Balcazar birdied the 18th hole on the final day to boost the team above the cut.
“The grit our team showed on that back 9 today was unbelievable. We kept telling them all week to believe, just believe,” UCF head coach Emily Marron says. “Ana Laura really was amazing and so steady for us. Her 66 in the first round put us in great position. It was a total team effort in the end, and I couldn’t be more proud of our team.”
“We kept telling them all week to believe, just believe.” — UCF head coach Emily Marron
UCF was tabbed as a 13-seed in its at-large bid to the postseason after finishing second at the American Athletic Conference Championship. This year marks the program’s 14th postseason appearance and the fifth during Marron’s seven-year tenure.
Rounding out the top six at the Cle Elum Regional were Southern Cal (844, 20-under); Washington (859, 5-under); Northwestern (864, par); Arkansas (869, 5-over); and San Jose State (872, 8-over). UCF finished ahead of Power 5 teams such as Ohio State, Oregon, South Carolina and Miami.
The women’s golf team has advanced to the championship final once before in program history in the 1996 season.
While a handful of Knights have won a national championship, none of the team titles have been achieved in an NCAA sanctioned championship competition.
The 2019 NCAA Women’s Golf National Championship will be at The Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas, May 17-22 . The final three days of the championships will be televised live by the Golf Channel.