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Huskies Golf Advances to Match Play; Will Face USC This Morning

By the time you read this, the Dawgs will likely have begun match play in their quest for an NCAA Championship.

Charlotte Thomas has led the Huskies in their chase for a Championship
Charlotte Thomas has led the Huskies in their chase for a Championship
UW Athletics

Good morning, Husky fans.  I hope you had a great holiday weekend.

If you failed to do so, or simply can't remember all the details, fear not.  The Washington Huskies Women's Golf team has you covered.  You see, they had a good weekend all around.

It wasn't easy, mind you.  The Dawgs needed a near-miracle shot from Charlotte Thomas on her last hole in order to set up the tap-in putt that would give UW the eight and final qualifying spot required to advance in the NCAA tournament.  The Huskies finished stroke play at the Concession Golf Club with a solid 12-over for the day and a ticket to move on in the tournament.

UW now moves on to the match-play portion of the tournament.  They tee-off this morning (Tuesday, 5/26) at 7:50am PDT against a familiar foe in the #1 seeded USC Trojans.  If the Dawgs get through today, up next would be the winner of the Stanford / Arizona matchup.  You can check out the details for today's pairings right here.

In addition, the Golf Channel will be covering all the action right here.  Check out their schedule here.

BRADENTON, Fla. - There was no shortage of drama on the final day of stroke play at the NCAA Championships from the Concession Golf Club. The Dawgs battled for a spot in the eight-team match play down to the final hole when Charlotte Thomas nearly holed a wedge to clinch eighth place for the Huskies and the final advancing position.

"We're excited to be moving on," said head coach Mary Lou Mulflur. "Everyone counted us out so it feels good to prove people wrong. It's just been such a special year, I don't want our time together to come to an end."
Washington was solid all day, shooting 12-over 300 as it hovered above the cut throughout. The Huskies appeared solidly in until a couple late miscues made it close on the final hole. Playing the ninth as her final hole, Thomas drove it right and punched a wedge to about 100 yards for her second on the par four. Thomas had been told by the coaches she needed a bogey, when in fact double-bogey would clinch it for the Dawgs. It wouldn't matter as Thomas' wedge bounced just short of the pin, checked and rolled to about an inch from a hole out. She tapped in for par and the Dawgs were through to face USC in the quarterfinals.

"I felt good once it came down to just one person," said Mulflur. "Charlotte is a smart player, she knew the situation and had to hit that punch out. She knew she could make bogey, but of course you want to make par and not back your way in. That was just a world-class golf shot."

The Huskies finished the four rounds of stroke play at 62-over 1214, playing a course that proved difficult all week. USC finished at 40-over and at the top of the leaderboard and will be the Dawgs opponent in the 1 vs. 8 matchup in the first round of match play.

The other quarterfinals are Duke versus Texas Tech, Baylor versus Tennessee and Stanford against Arizona. Arkansas was the first team out, finishing three shots behind the Huskies.
Thomas led Washington, finishing tied for 12th. Her final round of 2-over 74 put her at 8-over 296 for the week. It was another gutsy round for the Husky junior who made two birdies on the day, including a two on the par-three sixth that provided a huge boost in the team race down the stretch.

The final wedge will be the shot that is remembered, however. The ninth green can be tricky as it slopes away seemingly from every side. A wayward shot could have made for a difficult up and down. Fortunately, the Dawgs did not need to find out as Thomas had the easiest clinching putt one could ever ask for.
"I have been so proud of Charlotte this week," said Mulflur. "It wasn't just that final shot, she has made clutch shots all week. To come back from making that nine on the second day is so impressive. That is something that can really rattle someone's confidence, but she came right back from it."

The day was a team effort, however, as all five players played a role. Cyd Okino matched Thomas with a round of 2-over 74. She senior was the hot player early on, shooting 1-under 35 on the back nine that was played first by the Huskies. She made two more birdies on the second and third holes, getting her round to 3-under through 12, before stumbling a bit coming in. Still, Okino provided the jolt the Dawgs needed to ease the pressure, being above the cut early on and not needing to play catch-up. She finished tied for 51st at 23-over for the tournament.

"I couldn't be more excited for Cyd," said Mulflur. "She had some up and down moments early in the tournament, but she has played so well starting with the back nine yesterday. That bogey she made on the eighth today was every bit as clutch as Charlotte's shot. Everyone was hitting it in the water from that bunker, but she hit a great shot when we need it. Really, we needed every shot all week. They all just came up so clutch."

The other counting scores came from Eimi Koga and Ying Luo who each shot 4-over 76. Koga was just 1-over through 16 holes after making key birdies on the par-three sixth and the par-five seventh to give the Huskies some breathing room. On the eighth hole, her 17th, Koga's wedge found the creek to spoil a superb round, but the late birdies were still a huge part of the day for Washington. Koga finished tied for 38th overall at 17-over.
Luo played a solid round that did not include worse than a bogey. Her steady play down the stretch, included pars on the final five holes. She too finished at 23-over for the week and tied for 51st.

The non-counting score came from Jennifer Yang who shot 5-over 77. The fact that her score was thrown out is a testament to the Dawgs depth because Yang's round included an eagle and nothing worse than a bogey. Her eagle on the 17th hole provided a big boost to the Dawgs just before they made the turn when it appeared her score would be counting. Yang finished the week at 17-over and in that same tie for 38th as Koga.

The Dawgs will now regroup and move to a completely different format as they go head-to-head with the Trojans, beginning at 7:50 a.m. local time. After a selection process between coaches, Washington will leadoff with Koga against Karen Chung from USC. Okino will be second out at 8 a.m. against Amy Lee. Luo will face Annie Park at 8:10 a.m., followed by Yang against Gabriella Then at 8:20. The anchor match will be Thomas facing off against Kyung Kim of the Trojans T 8:30.

The winner of the morning match will move on to face the winner of fourth-seeded Stanford and fifth-seeded Arizona in the afternoon. The Golf Channel will cover all of tomorrow's action, including live coverage of the quarterfinals beginning at 10:30 a.m. local time.

"Match play is a bit different because no matter how well or poorly you play a hole, it only counts for one hole. We are going to play the way we have played all year, we'll be patient, smart and make good decisions. This is a very resilient team and match play will test that. I am excited for tomorrow."