SOMIS, Calif. - The Pepperdine women's golf team won its 14th consecutive West Coast Conference championship and its 17th in 18 years on Wednesday, while Marissa Chow and Somin Lee finished 1-2 in the individual race for the Waves.
Unlike the previous 16, Pepperdine had to come from behind to win this one. Gonzaga had a two-stroke lead heading into the third and final round, but the Waves were the only school to come close to taming the extremely difficult par-72 Saticoy Country Club that was made even tougher by Santa Ana winds during the final round.
Pepperdine ended up with a 16-stroke victory after shooting a total of 929 (311-312-306). The next-best score on Wednesday was San Francisco's 319, which moved the Dons into second place.
"Yesterday was a real struggle," said 22nd-year Pepperdine Coach Laurie Gibbs, who earned her 12th WCC Coach of the Year award. "The girls were grinding, but it was tough. We had a really good team-bonding experience last night. The girls came together and wanted it so bad. They showed a lot of heart, determination and toughness today, showing that they could go out there and get it done. It wasn't easy. The course played really tough. This really helps going into regionals."
NCAA Regionals will be held May 7-9. The field will be announced on Monday, April 27.
Both Chow (Honolulu, Hawaii/Iolani HS) and Lee (Denver, Colo./Overland HS) had to make up some ground to get atop the individual leaderboard. Chow, a junior, was tied for fifth heading into the final round, while Lee, a senior, was tied for ninth.
But Chow finished with a winning total of 228 (74-80-74), one stroke ahead of Lee at 229 (80-77-72). Chow won her second title of the school year and was awarded WCC Player of the Year honors. Lee posted a career-best finish, just better than her tie for third at the 2012 WCC Championships.
Chow won the tournament on the back nine. She was 4-over on the day after 11 holes, but posted three birdies and one bogey the rest of the way. Her birdie on the par-4 17th hole turned out to be the difference.
Lee's even-par 72 was the best round by any player on Wednesday. She had two birdies and two bogeys and she finished with seven consecutive pars.
Freshman Tatiana Wijaya (Jakarta, Indonesia) was named the WCC Freshman of the Year. She came in 12th place at 238 (79-79-80). Joining Chow and Wijaya on the All-WCC first team was senior Alina Ching (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School).
Pepperdine has won 17 of the 19 WCC championships ever contested.
Team Standings: 1. Pepperdine 311-312-306=929; 2. San Francisco 318-308-319=945; 3. Santa Clara 325-305-325=955; 4. Gonzaga 317-304-335=956; 5. Brigham Young 324-316-323=963.
Top Individuals: 1. Marissa Chow (Pepperdine) 74-80-74=228; 2. Somin Lee (Pepperdine) 80-77-72=229; T3. Alice Kim (Gonzaga) 78-74-79=231; T3. Emelie Lundstrom (San Francisco) 77-75-79=231; T3. Ciera Min (Gonzaga) 81-70-80=231.