NORMAN – Oklahoma sophomore Kaitlin Milligan clinched a spot in the NCAA Championships after claiming the NCAA Norman Regional title on Wednesday at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club. The victory was the first of her collegiate career and came in her hometown of Norman.
Milligan entered the final round tied for fifth place with a 36-hole score of 140 (-4) and was five strokes out of first place. The sophomore sunk six birdies en route to a final-round score of 68 (-4), finishing in first place with a 208 (-8) alongside co-champion Olivia Mehaffey of Arizona State.
“I think I’ve been a member out here (at Jimmie Austin) since I was about 8, so I grew up with these people and grew up with this golf course,” said Milligan. “I was really comfortable out there which helped a lot for this setting. I was really happy having my family out here and the support of this university and course.”
As a team, the Sooners finished in eighth place – two spots behind the qualifying cut line.
Oklahoma came into the final round in 10th place needing to make up for nine shots. The Sooners shot the lowest score of the 18 teams on Wednesday with a 287 (-1), but it wasn’t enough to make up the deficit. OU finished five strokes behind sixth-place Ole Miss.
“I’m really proud of the way we fought today,” said OU head coach Veronique Drouin-Luttrell. “We played our hearts out and coming up short as a team definitely stings. The future of OU women’s golf future is bright. Kaitlin played phenomenal all week and we’re so proud of her and can’t wait to keep her season going.”
Freshman Libby Winans recorded her lowest round of the week, shooting a 2-under 70. The rookie claimed 46th place with a three-day score of 223 (+7).
Sophomore Sydney Youngblood captured 36th place by totaling a 220 (+4) and freshman Mikhaela Fortuna took 51st with a 225 (+9). Senior Julienne Soo compiled a 231 (+15).
Milligan is one of three individuals from non-advancing teams at the Norman Regional who qualified for the NCAA Championships, which will be played on May 17-22 at The Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark.
The sophomore enters the NCAA Championships with nine top-20 finishes over her last 10 tournaments, including six in the top 10. Boasting a season stroke average of 71.88, she is on pace to break the program record of 72.27.
Oklahoma State’s Lianna Bailey carded an even-par 72 to finish in a tie for eighth at the NCAA Norman Regional, but came up one stroke short of qualifying for the 2019 NCAA Championships.
After a bogey-free 68 in Tuesday’s second round, the freshman posted five birdies on Wednesday at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club to finish the event at 2-under 214.
The low six teams and the low three individuals not on those teams advanced to the 2019 NCAA Women’s Golf National Championships at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Virginia Tech’s Amanda Hollandsworth grabbed the final NCAA Championship bid with a 54-hole total of 3-under 213.
Fellow Cowgirl freshman Han-Hsuan Yu was 2-over on the day and finished the event at 1-over 217 and in a tie for 19th place.
University of Tulsa freshman Lorena Tseng closed out her inaugural collegiate season on Wednesday with a 46th-place finish. Tseng scored her first of three birdies at the 5th, a hole that she had played 3-over par in the previous two days. She also birdied holes No. 8 and No. 12 to go to 3-under par after 13 holes, but her only bogey of the day put her back to 2-under par after hole No. 13. Tseng then played even-par on the final four holes for her best round of the tournament.
Tseng completed her rookie season with a 72.1 stroke average and had seven top-10 performances in 11 tournaments.