SIMPSONVILLE, Ky. – It took 19 holes, but the South Carolina women’s golf team punched its ticket to the NCAA Championship after prevailing in a playoff in the NCAA Louisville Regional on Wednesday at the University of Louisville Golf Club.
The Gamecocks battled the windy conditions throughout the day, struggling to find a flow as they dropped from second place entering the day, to just above the cut line. After a stumble on 18 Carolina was locked into a tie with Arkansas for sixth place and the final spot in the NCAA Championship.
In the playoff all five scores from each team count, with the team notching the lowest score winning. The teams are split into groups of five, with three Gamecocks playing with a pair of Razorbacks in the first group, and the two remaining Gamecocks in the second group.
Senior Lois Kaye Go, sophomore Mathilde Claisse and freshman Paula Kirner comprised the trio in the first group, and each woman opened play on the par-5 ninth hole with strong drives, each reaching the green with a chance to birdie. Go led the way, sinking the first birdie to get things going, followed by Kirner tallying a birdie herself. After both Arkansas golfers shot par on the hole Claisse cleaned up with the third birdie in a row for the Garnet and Black, giving Carolina a three-stroke advantage with two of the top players in college golf charging up the fairway.
Sophomore Pauline Roussin-Bouchard, finding her groove after two challenging rounds to open the tournament, hit the green after two shots, setting herself up for an eagle to all but seal the deal. It would not be that simple, however, after Brooke Matthews from Arkansas notched an eagle of her own to go with the birdies from the other two Razorbacks in her trio. After digging herself out of the bunker senior Ana Pelaez knew a birdie would send the Gamecocks to nationals, and she approached the ball with ice in her veins, sinking the shot and getting swarmed by her teammates as the Garnet and Black punched their ticket to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2017.
The Gamecocks are set for a date with the other 23 qualifying teams at the NCAA Championship set to get underway on May 21 at Greyhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.
NCAA Louisville Regional Leaderboard – Final
1. Florida State – 872 (+8)
T2. Texas – 875 (+11)
T2. UCLA – 875 (+11)
T4. Auburn – 878 (+14)
T4. Michigan State – 878 (+14)
T6. South Carolina – 879 (+15)
T6. Arkansas – 879 (+15)
T8. Texas Tech – 881 (+17)
T8. UCF – 881 (+17)
10. Tennessee – 882 (+18)
11. Louisville – 884 (+20)
12. North Florida – 892 (+28)
13. UTSA – 896 (+32)
14. Mercer – 897 (+33)
15. College of Charleston – 901 (+37)
16. James Madison – 903 (+39)
17. Xavier – 907 (+43)
18. Farleigh Dickinson – 955 (+91)