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Huskies finish second in regional to advance to NCAA Championships

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Rino Sasaki drives the ball down the fairway at the 2018 Pac-12 Championships. Sasaki finished the regional at 10-under 206 in a tie for second place.

The No. 19 Washington Women’s golf team had one of its best tournaments of the year to secure a second-place finish at 5-under 859 at the NCAA Regionals in Cle Elum, Wash. and advance to NCAA Championships.

The result at Tumble Creek Club marks the third time in the past four years that head coach Mary Lou Mulflur’s squad has advanced past the regional stage.

“Making the NCAAs for the third time in four years, especially for these seniors, is really special," Mulflur said to GoHuskies.com.

The Huskies were securely in position to advance the entire tournament, finishing the first day in third and continuing their strong play on both Tuesday and Wednesday to a second-place finish behind only No.1 USC.

Washington was one of just two schools to finish under par over the three days, in large part due to the stellar play of sophomore Rino Sasaki.

Sasaki finished tied for second, one of her best finishes of her UW career with a 10-under 206 (68-70-68). On the final day of play the sophomore from Tokyo totaled four birdies including a pair on the final two holes. Sasaki matched her score on Monday of 68 to mark her best round of golf in the purple and gold.

“Rino played so steady this week, I was just so proud of her," Mulflur said. "She keeps getting better and better which is what you want to see, especially heading into nationals."

Seniors Julianne Alvarez and Sarah Rhee helped extend their collegiate careers, finishing tied for 17th.

Alvarez, who shot a 73 and a 75 through the first two days, came into the final day of play all the way back in 29th place. She nabbed three birdies on Wednesday to shoot 2-under 70 on the round and finish at 2-over 218, leapfrogging herself up to 17th.

Rhee was equally stellar on the final day with three birdies, totaling a 2-over 218.

Junior Alice Duan,placed tied for 28th with her 4-over 220 and senior Wenyung Keh finished 77th to round out the group.

The Huskies will travel to Fayetteville, Ark. for the 2019 NCAA National Championships on May 17th at the Blessings Golf Course.

Reach contributing writer Andrew LaChapelle at sports@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @AndrewLaChapel1

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