For the second straight year, sophomore Patty Tavatanakit emerged victorious at NCAA regionals.
UCLA women’s golf finished in third place at the NCAA East Lansing Regional after a second-round jump spearheaded by Tavatanakit sprung the Bruins into contention. Tavatanakit shot an 8-under 208 and finished alone in first place.
Tavatanakit shot four birdies in a row on day one, but finished the round in sixth with a 1-under 71. A 6-under 66 in the second round sent her to the top of the leaderboards, and another 1-under 71 in the final round clinched the victory.
“(Tavatanakit’s) a winner,” said coach Carrie Forsyth. “She’s hitting it like a pro right now. Kind of back to the (Tavatanakit) that we recruited, the (Tavatanakit) that we know is there and the (Tavatanakit) that we know we can win.”
Tavatanakit’s last win was at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate on Sept. 19 – UCLA’s first event of the fall season. Last year, she won four tournaments and tallied 10 top-20 finishes.
The Bruins finished the first round in seventh place, with only the top six teams set to move on to the NCAA championship.
“I basically just told them we haven’t played up to our abilities – it’s now or never,” Forsyth said. “If not now, when?”
But a seven-hour rain delay pushed back UCLA’s tee times Tuesday morning and the Bruins had to make two trips from the hotel to the course and back again while still recovering from jet lag.
“We were exhausted,” Forsyth said. “Once the afternoon came, and it was actually pretty good conditions, I think we were all kind of relieved by that.”
UCLA put together the second-best day two among the 18-team field, bumping it up to third place as the storms cleared the course.
“I personally believe that our team does not have any issues with (climbing back into the top six),” Tavatanakit said. “With how wet it was on the second day – we’re a pretty long-hitting team I think, so with the distance, we carry almost everything, … I don’t think it was that difficult for us to hit it a little far.”
Senior Beth Wu was tied for third place with a 2-under 70 in the first round, but finished tied for 11th with a 2-over 218.
Junior Clare Legaspi tied for 27th at 6-over 222, while junior Mariel Galdiano and freshman Phoebe Yue both finished outside the top 50.
“It was pretty straightforward,” Wu said. “(Tavatanakit) did really well, (Legaspi) did really well too, that’s what really got us back into the game.”
UCLA, Kentucky State, Arizona, Stanford, Illinois and Indiana will all advance to the NCAA Championship in Fayetteville, Arkansas, starting May 17.