NCAA Finals Bound! Michigan Advances Out of Alabama Regional

May 7, 2016

Women's Golf

What You Need to Know
» With a final-round 300, Michigan tallied a program-record 916 NCAA Regional total to finish sixth and advance to the NCAA Finals in Eugene, Oregon.
» U-M advances to the NCAA Finals for the just the second time in program history. U-M's only other trip to the championships was 14 years ago in 2002 at Washington National in Auburn, Washington.
» U-M's 916 set the program's regional record by nine shots, topping the 925 tallied in the 2001 NCAA East Regional.
» Senior Catherine Peters set the program's regional individual record with her fifth-place finish and 223 (77-74-72) total -- lowering the mark by a single shot.

Photo Gallery  | Regional Central

Site: Shoal Creek, Ala.
Course: Shoal Creek Country Club (par 72, 6,470 yards)
Tournament: NCAA Alabama Regional
U-M Team Standing: 6th Place of 18 Teams (311-305-300/916)
Top U-M Individual: Catherine Peters, tie-5th (77-74-72/223)
Next U-M Event: Fri-Wed., May 20-25 -- at NCAA Championships (Eugene, Ore.)

SHOAL CREEK, Ala. -- Led by senior Catherine Peters' fifth-place individual finish, the University of Michigan women's golf team posted a final-round 300 today (Saturday, May 7) to post a 916 54-hole total and capture a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Alabama Regional, allowing the Wolverines to advance to the NCAA Finals for just the second time in program history.

"This is a huge stepping stone for our program," said U-M head coach Jan Dowling. "I am so proud for our players and so happy they get to have this experience. They are a great team. They love each other. They work hard for each other. They believe in each other. This is a huge feather in their cap to be able to go to the national championships and represent Michigan."

After making its return to the NCAA postseason for the first time in four years, U-M opened up the regional with a 311 team tally on Thursday (May 5) putting the Wolverines in a tie for 13th. Needing to make a move on day two, Peters provided that spark for U-M as her two-over 74 paced the Wolverines Friday (May 6) to a 305, vaulting them six positions to seventh after the second round. With a 616 total, the Wolverines found themselves just two shots back of sixth-place California with a chance to advance to the championship.

As she did all regional long, Peters put the Wolverines on her back and opened her first nine holes of the final round four under -- thanks to four birdies -- helping U-M build momentum heading into the backside. On the back side, Peters was unable to catch the breaks on the greens as she carded an even-par 72, but freshman Elodie Van Dievoet did, using a pair of birdies on Nos. 12 and 16 to finish one under and help her card her regional best with a 76. With a 75 from sophomore Emily White, Michigan closed with a 300 to set a new U-M-regional record 916 total -- lowering the previous best by nine shots.

"Personally, I made it my goal to take it one shot at a time and be really patient," said Peters. "Coach has always emphasized staying in the process. Today, I was thinking that if this is going to be my last (collegiate) round, I was going to make it the best round that I could. I wanted to make every shot count."

With its 300 in tow, U-M moved into the sixth spot but had to wait to see if it would advance. The Wolverines held a three-shot lead over California, and the last qualifying spot turned into a two-team race. With the Bears having as many as five holes left, the waiting began for the Maize and Blue in the clubhouse. Cal was unable to capitalize down the stretch, posting a 310 and finishing seventh -- eight shots back of U-M.

"Since we got the bid, we preached that you have to play really well to advance, but you don't have to do something special," said Dowling. "We said, if we play our game and our golf we are going to have a chance come the final round.

"During the round today, we really treated it like any other round. This course requires patience, a lot of good course management, and that is something we work on all the time. We need our team to know that we believed in them. That is what we told them this morning -- we believe in you, and we believe in this. It's that simple.

"They showed so much toughness. They were in it the whole time. Today was a pretty special round. Case in point, today did not require something special. We were 12 over, shot a 300, and mind you it is a great golf course. They hit the shots under that pressure, and it was really fun to see."

"We were all eating knowing that we had a three-shot lead on California," said Peters. "People were coming up to us and congratulating us, and we thought 'no don't jinx it.' Then it was four shots, then five, then six. We just kept getting more and more excited with each passing hole."

Individually, Peters posted a U-M regional-record tie for fifth with a U-M-regional record of 223 (77-74-72), lowering the previous mark of Brianna Broderick (224) at the 2005 NCAA Central Regional.

"I really wanted to play my absolute best this week for this program," said Peters. "It has done so much for me and my family. I really wanted to play my best to give this team a chance to go. I came off the green on 18, and my dad said, 'even if we don't make it, you might go as an individual.' I just looked at him and said I don't want to go as individual. I want to go as a team."

"Cat is so positive and so tough," commented Dowling. "She is a really smart player. She just has this great mental mindset. She thinks anything is possible, and it is. She played great all week long. Her front nine today was probably some of the best golf I have watched.

"For her to be four under gave us some great momentum going into the back nine. She called it. We were excited to play the front side first early with no wind. Cat said she was going to go out and shoot two under, and she shot four-under. I am really, really proud of her."

Following Peters, sophomore Megan Kim tied for 29th with a 231 (78-76-77) total, while junior Grace Choi (78-77-77) and White (78-79-75) tied for 36th at 232. Van Dievoet rallied in the final round and tied for 43rd at 233 (79-78-76).

"This is a testament to our team," added Dowling. "These players have worked hard and believe in what we are doing. We just try to get a little better each day and peak at the end of the season. Playing in that final round at Big Ten's really helped prepare us for today. That gave us a chance to really get a gut check and get those nerves going when the pressure is on. It was a great experience that paid off for us today."

Joining Michigan at the NCAA Finals from the Alabama Regional will be Northwestern, which won the regional with an 887 total, Florida State (905), Oklahoma State (907), Alabama (908) and Tennessee (912). Cal's Marianne Li, Clemson's Lauren Stephenson and Purdue's August Kim will also move on to compete for the individual title at the Eugene Country Club.

The NCAA Championships will be held Friday through Wednesday, May 20-25, in Eugene, Oregon.

Final Team Standings

 1. Northwestern       296-294-297 = 887 (+23)
 2. Florida State      299-297-309 = 905
 3. Oklahoma State     301-297-309 = 907
 4. Alabama            306-300-302 = 908
 5. Tennessee          300-311-301 = 912
 6. MICHIGAN           311-305-300 = 916
The top 6 teams advance
 7. California         307-307-310 = 924
 8. Clemson            308-310-311 = 929
 9. New Mexico State   303-318-310 = 931
10. Vanderbilt         302-316-317 = 935
11. Purdue             313-319-304 = 936
12. Missouri           311-318-310 = 939
13. Iowa State         310-324-310 = 944
    Notre Dame         309-314-321 = 944
15. Middle Tennessee   310-317-318 = 945
16. Eastern Kentucky   332-316-323 = 971
17. Oakland            328-324-339 = 991
18. Alabama State      333-337-336 = 1006

Top Individuals

 1. Matilda Castren, Florida State     74-71-75 = 220
    Marianne Li, California            74-72-74 = 220
    Janet Mao, Northwestern            74-74-72 = 220
 4. Kacie Komoto, Northwestern         72-73-77 = 222
 5. CATHERINE PETERS, U-M              77-74-72 = 223
    Lauren Stephenson, Clemson         74-75-74 = 223
 7. Emma Talley, Alabama               75-76-73 = 224
    Kim Metraux, Florida State         73-77-74 = 224
 9. August Kim, Purdue                 74-77-74 = 225
    Linnea Johansson, Oklahoma State   75-71-79 = 225
    Sarah Cho, Northwestern            75-72-78 = 225

Other Michigan Individuals

T29. Megan Kim            78-76-77 = 231
T36. Grace Choi           78-77-77 = 232
T36. Emily White          78-79-75 = 232
T43. Elodie Van Dievoet   79-78-76 = 233

• Previous Results: Day 2 | Day 1

Communications Contact: Tom Wywrot