STILLWATER, Okla. – Arizona’s Haley Moore sank her final putt in a playoff to push the Wildcats past Alabama, 3-2, on Wednesday at Karsten Creek Golf Club to clinch the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship, hosted by Oklahoma State University. This is the Wildcats’third team national title.
With the team score tied 2-2 and their individual match all square, Moore and Alabama’s Lakareber Abe returned to No. 18 for a playoff. Abe’s approach shot landed in a bunker just in front of the green, while Moore’s went left off the fringe, barely rolling into the rough. Abe’s chip rolled past the hole and she eventually two-putted. Moore chipped it onto the green and sealed it with a single putt, securing the trophy.
“I just told myself, I handled 7,” Moore said. “It’s basically the same hole, I just told myself it’s a regulation hole again, because in my mind I was like, OK, I’m all square going into the last hole of the national championship, so I know I need a birdie to win, so I just played it as just a normal hole, regulation hole. I feel like with that, I felt myself just with more confidence. I was definitely more nervous, but I just got over the ball, and I just hit it by the hole.”
For Laura Ianello, it was her first national championship as Arizona’s head coach but her second national championship as a Wildcat – back in 2000 she was on the national championship team as a player.
“I’m not going to lie, this one is a little bit more special to me,” Ianello said. “But it’s what you work for. It’s what you want. I think being a coach and trying to live for your players a little bit, it’s pretty spectacular to win on this end. I’d say for me a little bit more.”
Arizona’s freshman Yu-Sang Hou and sophomore Sandra Nordaas locked in wins for the Wildcats, while Alabama’s sophomore Kristen Gillman and junior Cheyenne Knight claimed victories for the Tide.
With Moore’s playoff victory, she is now one of seven players to go 3-0-0 in match play in the golf championships, helping the Wildcats become the first eight seed to win a national title since the match-play format was adopted in 2015.
CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH RESULTS:
ARIZONA 3, ALABAMA 2
Yu-Sang Hou, Arizona, def. Lauren Stephenson, Alabama, 4&3
Kristen Gillman, Alabama, def. Gigi Stoll, 4&3
Cheyenne Knight, Alabama, def. Bianca Pagdanganan, Arizona, 4&2
Sandra Nordaas, Arizona, def. Angelica Moresco, Alabama, 1 Up
Haley Moore, Arizona, def. Lakareber Abe, Alabama, 1 Up 19 holes