Home Golf Stanford beats UCLA to capture 3rd NCAA women’s golf title

Stanford beats UCLA to capture 3rd NCAA women’s golf title


CARLSBAD, Calif. — Kelly Xu went undefeated in match play for the second straight year and the rest of Stanford followed her lead Wednesday, beating UCLA in the title match for its second NCAA championship in the three years.

Rachel Heck delivered the final point in a 3-2 victory and the celebration was on for Stanford, the No. 1 team and the top seed going into match play.

“We never take anything for granted,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said. “We’re privileged to be in this position. We talk a lot about staying patient, staying grateful and enjoying the moment. These are so hard to win.”

Heck seized control early in the anchor match by going 3 up through four holes. Megha Ganne took over in her match around the turn on the North course at La Costa. UCLA’s Zoe Campos and Caroline Canales stayed ahead in their matches.

It looked for a moment as though the all-Pac-12 final would come down to Xu. She was 4 up until Meghan Royal won two straight holes to cut the deficit in half through 11 holes, with momentum on her side.

And then it all came undone. Royal drove left into grass so thick she couldn’t get it back out to the second cut of rough, eventually conceding the 14th hole.

On the 15th, Xu’s shot bounced through the firm green, over the back and down a steep slope into the water. Royal was just over 100 yards out and her shot also went over the back, down the hill and into the hazard. Xu looked as though she would leave the 15th with a 2-up lead. She wound up winning, 4 and 3, and then the title came into clear view for the Cardinal.

Ganne closed out a 3-and-2 victory when Natalie Vo went from a front bunker to a plugged lie in a back bunker on the par-3 16th. Heck gave Stanford the third and final point it needed when she made par on the 15th and Kate Villegas couldn’t extend the match.

“Stanford started off hot. We just got behind the 8-ball too quick,” UCLA coach Alicia Um Holmes said. “You try not to make it about results, but it hurts to lose when you work so hard and put so many hours in.”

Campos, who won four times this year, closed out Sadie Englemann of Stanford, 4 and 3. Canales chipped in for eagle for a 2-up win over Paula Martin Sampedro in the lead match, which ended right as Heck was delivering the clinching point.

Stanford now has three NCAA titles in women’s golf since it went to match play in 2015. UCLA also has three titles, all in stroke play, the most recent in 2011.

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