April 25, 2005
PULLMAN, Wash. - After a record-setting performance at the Pacific-10 Conference Championships last week, the No. 23 (GolfWeek) Washington State University women's golf team was rewarded with a bid to the NCAA West Regional Championships, Monday.
"We are very excited and looking forward to this opportunity to go play," said WSU Head Coach Walt Williams. "We are going to have to play really well there (to move onto the NCAA Championships), and that is what we will do. We can't wait to get there."
The Field: The NCAA West Regional, held May 5-7, at the New Mexico State University Golf Course in Las Cruces, N.M., will play host to UCLA, Georgia, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Southern California, Arizona, California, Washington State, Stanford, UNLV, Oregon, San Francisco, UC Irvine, Brigham Young, Colorado State, Portland State, Northwestern, Oral Roberts, Illinois State, Georgia State, and Denver.
"There are probably 12 or 13 teams with a shot at making it as one of the eight teams to advance to the NCAA Championships," Williams said. "It will be a very difficult field."
Sights Set on NCAA Championships: The Cougars are looking to make it back to the NCAA Championships after just missing a repeat trip last season. At the 2004 NCAA West Regional, the Cougars finished tied for 8th, but lost a playoff to the University of Texas.
The season: The Cougars won three tournaments this season, including the Inland Cup, the Pinehurst Invitational and the Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational. In seven tournaments this spring, the Cougars have finished in the top four six times.
Pac-10 Championships: Senior two-time All-American Kim Welch, in the final Pac-10 Championships of her career, set WSU records for lowest single-round score (66) and lowest three-round score (211, -5) at the Pac-10 Championships last week. She broke her previous record for low round score by four strokes, and shattered the three-round school record by 13 strokes.
The Cougars tied their best performance at the event, finishing tied for seventh. Washington State demolished the school record for lowest three-round team total at the conference championships by 26 strokes, shooting 898 (+34).
All-Pac-10 Cougars: Junior Anastasia Kostina was named First Team All-Pac-10, April 20, and Welch was named to the All-Pac-10 second team. Welch has moved up to No.19 in the GolfWeek individual rankings, while Kostina is ranked No. 40. Kostina is ranked No. 16 in the Golfstat Cup women's rankings, while Welch is ranked No. 34.
Welch Continues to Dominate: After recording three tournament victories this spring (Inland Cup, Thompson Invitational and Peg Barnard Invitational), Welch increased her WSU record of career individual titles to 11. In four seasons at WSU, Welch has recorded 31 top 10 finishes and 39 top 25 finishes, both of which are also WSU records.
"Kim has been playing spectacular," Williams said. "She has set two course records in two weeks. Kim is a phenomenal player. I have no doubt she is going to go play phenomenally at regionals and be in the hunt coming down the last nine holes just like she was last week at the Pac-10 Championships."
Kostina On Fire All Year: In 11 tournaments this season, Anastasia Kostina recorded 10 top 11 finishes, including her first career tournament victory at the Stanford Intercollegiate. Her three-round total of 205 (-5) established a new WSU record.
"Anastasia is a great player," Williams said. "She had an off week last week, but all great players do. She got it out of the way last week and I am sure she will play outstanding at the regional championships."
Longbottom Equals Consistency: Senior Jay-Lee Longbottom heads into the NCAA West Regional on a streak of seven consecutive top 25 finishes. Over the course of her career Longbottom has recorded 24 top 25 finishes, which is tied for second (Dodd) on WSU's all-time list.
"Jay-Lee is playing better than she has ever played," Williams said. "She is finishing on the highest level and playing great every tournament."
"Maria is playing probably as good as she has ever played right now," Williams said.
Broders Making Mark: As a freshman, Tracy Broders has played in only a few tournaments this season, but she has already begun to make her mark. Broders shot a career low 75 in the second round of the Pac-10 Championships last week.
"Tracy is improving very quickly and getting more and more confident" Williams said. "I don't have any concern that she is going to go into regionals and help contribute."