May 22, 2014
TULSA, Okla. -- Northwestern made significant improvements during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Championships Thursday at the Tulsa Country Club. The Wildcats scored their low round of the tournament, carding a 4-over 284 with three players recording their best round of the event so far.
Northwestern made a large jump in the team standings following the third round, moving from 15th into a tie for 10th with Ohio State at +38. NU is just a stroke behind ninth-place Tulane (+35), seven away from a trio of teams (Arizona State, Arizona and NC State) that are tied for sixth and eight away from fifth-place Mississippi State. The 15th-ranked 'Cats are currently ahead of a number of higher-ranked teams including 10th-ranked Alabama, No. 8 Vanderbilt, No. 12 Stanford, No. 6 Washington and No. 4 South Carolina.
The Wildcats cut five strokes off their second round score, thanks to solid play from freshman Kacie Komoto, sophomore Kaitlin Park and junior Hana Lee who all made improvements on Thursday. Komoto led the NU group of five, scoring a 1-under 69 while Park and Lee were each a stroke over par.
Thursday's third round had by far the best conditions of the three-day event so far. With little wind and clear skies, the Wildcats teed off in the morning wave. Komoto was the third Wildcat off the first tee and she had a great round that produced four birdies, 11 pars and three bogeys. The Honolulu, Hawaii native finished the round strong with three birdies on the last four holes and she was 4-under on her final six holes. She has improved her score each day, starting with a 7-over 77, scored a 6-over 76 on Wednesday and then cut seven strokes off her score with Thursday's performance.
Strong finishes were the theme for Thursday's round as Park made a complete turnaround on the back nine. Her front nine contained four bogeys, putting her at 4-over heading into 10. She then bogeyed the par-4 10th hole to go 5-over but that did not shake her confidence as she went on to finish the hole with four birdies and four pars.
Following her bogey on 10, the Tustin, Calif., native scored back-to-back birdies on 11 and 12, had two straight pars on 13 and 14 and finished the round with the same pattern. She also has improved her score each day going from 86 to 76 to 71 on Thursday.
Lee recorded three birdies to counter four bogeys on Thursday. After going 1-over on the front nine, Lee had one more bogey on 11 to go 2-over but finished with a par on 12, birdie on 13 and five straight pars to finish the round at 1-over. The Hacienda Heights, Calif., native has scores of 80, 75 and 71 during her second trip to the NCAA Championships.
Sophomore Suchaya Tangkamolprasert continues to record low scores for the Wildcats as she posted a 3-over 73 on Thursday. She was NU's leader during round one at 2-over 72 and improved her score by a stroke on Wednesday at 1-over 71. On Thursday, the Bangkok, Thailand native was 1-under through the first four holes with two birdies, a bogey and par. She finished the front nine at 1-over and began the back nine with four straight pars. Despite bogeys on 14 and 17, Tangkamolprasert added on three more pars to finish at 73.
Sophomore Elizabeth Szokol carded a 7-over 77 on Thursday. She had three birdies on the day and five pars on the back nine, including three straight from 11-13.
The fourth and final round of the 2014 NCAA Championships takes place Friday at the Tulsa Country Club. By finishing the third round inside the top 12, NU will tee off Friday's round in the afternoon with the other top teams in the standings. NU is the first group to tee off in the afternoon wave, beginning its day at 11:20 a.m. on the 10th hole. Northwestern will be paired with Ohio State and Alabama.
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