Friday, November 24

UCLA wins regional title

Maria Jose Uribe places first individually as women's golf wins seventh tournament of the year

Sophomore Maria Jose Uribe won the individual NCAA Central Regional Championship and helped her team win the team title in Columbus, Ohio, this weekend.

Sophomore Maria Jose Uribe won the individual NCAA Central Regional Championship and helped her team win the team title in Columbus, Ohio, this weekend. UCLA Athletics

For a second consecutive year, sophomore Maria Jose Uribe led the No. 2 women’s golf team to victory at the NCAA Central Regional Championship, as it defended its title at the Ohio State Scarlet Course this weekend despite poor weather conditions.

But the Bruins’ main focus remains on the NCAA National Championship next week.

“(Regionals) was a good rehearsal for nationals,” Uribe said. “We’re confident we’re going to play good. It’s a good thing to win two years in a row. We’re really confident for nationals.”

Last year Uribe was a co-medalist after tying Purdue’s Maria Hernandez, but this weekend Uribe stood alone at the individual championship with a (-4) 212, which beat out freshman teammate Stephanie Kono by one stroke.

Uribe said she enjoyed playing against her fellow Bruin for the individual championship and still would have been happy for Kono if the freshman won.

The victory was Uribe’s first tournament win of the season. She said this year’s win was more special than her 2008 Central Regional title because she won it outright this weekend and didn’t have to share medalist honors.

Uribe will leave UCLA following this season to return home to Colombia and pursue a professional golf career.

“This year was pretty special along the golf course, just really emotional because it’s almost my last college tournament,” Uribe said.

The Bruins jumped out to an 11-stroke lead after the first round and never relinquished their double-digit advantage. By the end of the final round, they routed second-place No. 9 Purdue by 19 strokes.

No. 11 Wake Forest finished third at 899 (+35), No. 5 Oklahoma State trailed Wake Forest by two strokes and No. 19 Michigan State rounded out the top five with a score of 905 (+41).

Throughout the season UCLA constantly battled with top-ranked Arizona State and No. 3 USC for tournament victories, but both the Sun Devils and Trojans competed in the West Regional at the Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz.

“I don’t think we think a lot about our opponents,” Uribe said. “We just go there and play on the golf course. The field wasn’t that strong, but we don’t think about who we’re playing against.”

Individually, junior Sydnee Michaels recorded a 224 (+8), good enough for a tie for seventh place. Sophomore Glory Yang tied for 27th with a 230 (+14) and senior Tiffany Joh registered a 232 (+16) to tie for 41.

Uribe said that it was hard playing through windy conditions, but extensive team practices helped the team manage the weather to capture the title.

“(We) try to adjust (our) distance control, aim a little bit more right or left,” Uribe said. “Putting was kind of hard because winds were really hard. They were moving the ball on the putting green.”

This victory is coach Carrie Forsyth’s fifth regional championship in 10 years. It also allows the team to match a school record for most tournament victories in a season. UCLA won seven tournaments this season, the most in the nation.

“It’s kind of cool to see what a good season we have had,” Uribe said. “We still have a chance at nationals to win. We’re going to think about it, but it’d be really cool to be the best team in history.”

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