Coloradan Kupcho overcomes slow start to share lead after 2 rounds of Women’s NCAA Finals; CU in 14th place in team standings
by Gary Baines
Saturday at the Women’s NCAA Championship Finals wasn’t by any means as magical as was Friday’s opening round for Coloradan Jennifer Kupcho. That often comes with the territory when a player shoots a round of 65, chips in twice and makes an eagle, as Kupcho did on Friday.
Still, the Wake Forest junior emerged from Saturday’s play in Stillwater, Okla., still at the top of the individual leaderboard. The only difference is now she has company.
Kupcho, a Westminster resident who has finished sixth and second in her first two NCAA Finals appearances, saw her three-stroke first-round lead in the tournament disappear in her first seven holes on Saturday as she made four bogeys, two pars and a birdie in that opening stretch. But she played the remainder of her round in 1 under par to post a 2-over-par 74 on Saturday.
That left the world’s No. 3-ranked women’s amateur at 5-under-par 139 at the halfway point of the stroke-play portion of the event at Karsten Creek.
Also at 139 through 36 holes are Cheyenne Knight of Alabama (69 Saturday) and Bianca Pagdanganan of Arizona (68). In fourth place alone at 140 is Lilia Vu of UCLA, the No. 1-ranked women’s amateur in the world, who carded a second-round 68. Kupcho and Vu will be U.S. Curtis Cup teammates in that competition next month. Kuphco (pictured) has won three individual titles this season, including her second consecutive NCAA Regional, while Vu owns four victories.
On Saturday, Kupcho finished her round with three birdies — including one on the final hole — and five bogeys.
After Sunday’s third round, the field will be cut to 15 teams plus the top nine individuals not on those teams. Those teams and individuals will play the final stroke play round on Monday, when the individual champion will be determined, along with the eight teams that will advance to match play.
Among the teams battling to make the Sunday cut is the University of Colorado, which is making its first Women’s NCAA Finals appearance since 2012. The Buffs finished Saturday very close to where they started it, dropping from 13th to 14th place. They recorded a 13-over-par 301 total on Saturday and check in at 31-over 607.
Senior Brittany Fan leads the way for CU individually as a second-round 74 left her at 5-over 149 and tied for 36th place. Robyn Choi, who qualified in Colorado on Monday for her second straight U.S. Women’s Open, is at 150, while fellow sophomore Kirsty Hodgkins is at 151. Hodgkins had been in the top 15 individually after 27 holes, but a 6-over 42 on the back nine dropped her back.
Sharing 14th place with CU at 607 is Kupcho’s Wake Forest team. And Coloradan Hannah Wood’s Oklahoma squad shares 19th place at 610.
Women’s NCAA Division I Finals
May 18-21, 2018 in Stillwater, Okla.
14. (out of 24 teams) Colorado 306-301–607
36. Brittany Fan 75-74–149
44. Robyn Choi 75-75–150
54. Kirsty Hodgkins 74-77–151
98. Alisha Lau 82-75–157
115. Gillian Vance 82-79–161
T1. Coloradan Jennifer Kupcho, Wake Forest 65-74–139
77. Coloradan Hannah Wood, Oklahoma 77-77–154
For complete results, CLICK HERE.