EUGENE, Oregon — West Coast Conference Champion No. 26 BYU and Gonzaga’s Bianca Pagdanganan concluded play in the NCAA Championship. The Cougars and Pagdanganan did not advance to stroke play competition, ending their respective seasons, but BYU's Kendra Dalton qualified for Monday’s competition based on a strong individual performance on the opening three rounds.
The BYU women's golf team wrapped up play at the 2016 NCAA Championships at Eugene Country Club, with a 10-over-par 298 in the third round.
To accommodate BYU’s longstanding policy of not competing on Sunday, the NCAA made provisions for the Cougars to play its Sunday round on Thursday afternoon. BYU’s team total of 298 from Thursday was factored into the tournament’s 54-hole totals on Sunday.
The Cougars were led by sophomore Kendra Dalton who carded a 2-under-par 70. Rounding out the third-round scoring for BYU was senior Lea Garner at 73, junior Alexandra White at 76, freshman Rose Huang at 79 and junior Brooklyn Hocker at 81.
Only the top 15 teams advanced to play an additional 18 holes on Monday to determine the individual stroke-play champion as well as the top-eight teams that advance to match play on May 24-25. A three-day total of 294-308-298—900 left the Cougars in 24th place, 15 shots shy of making the 54-hole cut.
“Unfortunately we didn’t play our best this week,” BYU head coach Carrie Roberts said. “Overall though it was a great experience to complete at the NCAA Championships. I’m proud of the way we played this year. We won five tournaments, including our first West Coast Conference title. We’ll certainly learn from this experience at the NCAAs. It will help us be better as both coaches and players in the future.”
BYU got some good news on Sunday evening when it learned Dalton’s three-round total of 72-76-70—218 was good enough to advance to Monday as an individual. The top-nine players from teams not advancing to the fourth round are included in Monday’s tournament field. Dalton’s 54-hole score of 218 was tied for ninth among those individuals whose teams did not advance. Her 2-under-par 70 in the third round won the tiebreaker to send her on to Monday play.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to play Eugene Country Club again. The course suits my game and I’ve really enjoyed playing it this week,” Dalton said. “It will be fun to see how well I can play in the final round of the NCAA Championship.”
The 2015-16 WCC co-Freshman of the Year Bianca Pagdanganan also wrapped up play at the NCAA Championships at Eugene Country Club in Eugene.
The native of Quezon City, Philippines, began her loop with pars on three of the first four holes, but an 8 on the par-3 14th and 6 on the par-5 15th gave her a score of 7-above-par through six. Pagdanganan parred No. 16 and again birdied No. 17, but she ended her first nine with a double-bogey, making the turn at 8-over-par 43.
After a bogey on Eugene C.C.’s first hole, Pagdanganan found her rhythm again, parring each of the next five holes. She added a birdie on the par-5 seventh and finished the round with another par and another bogey for a Sunday score of 81 (+9). She played her final eight holes at even par to reach the mark.
“I’m really happy to have gotten to be with Bianca during the first national championship, and I’m sure there’ll be more in her future,” said Gonzaga head coach Brad Rickel. “She did a great job. We didn’t hit enough fairways this week to shoot good scores, but she worked hard at it. In the end, we enjoyed the experience and we know that this will add tremendously to her experience. It’ll make us better the next time we come back.”
A freshman, Pagdanganan posted a tournament score of 238 (+22) and tied for 128th. She is the first Gonzaga golfer – male or female – to compete in the NCAA Championships after earning the berth via a T-8th finish at the NCAA’s Bryan Regional May 5-7.