Two years and two days ago, the Washington women’s golf team clinched a spot in the National Championships, and two weeks after that the Huskies took home their first title in program history. The core of the current UW team were all freshmen, surprising everyone to take home the prize on collegiate golf’s biggest stage.
Now, the No. 15 Huskies are going back, finishing fifth at the Tallahassee Regional to punch their ticket to the National Championship in Stillwater, Oklahoma. After shooting a program record 15-under in its first round Monday, the UW just needed to tread water the last two days of competition, and the Dawgs did just that, following a 1-over round Tuesday with a 4-over Wednesday to finish at 10-under with a tournament total of 854.
And in a callback to the storybook ending of 2016, it was a freshman who led the Dawgs in the end.
Rino Sasaki, about to wrap up her first year on Montlake, played her best round of the season Wednesday, shooting 4-under 68. Three of the Tokyo native’s four birdies came on the back nine, and she finished the tournament in a tie for 40th.
Junior Sarah Rhee finished the Regional as the top overall performer for Washington, closing the tournament in eighth place. She got off to a rough start Wednesday, bogeying three of the first five holes, but came back to finish the round at just 1-over 73.
Wenyung Keh’s scorecard was marred by a triple-bogey on the 15th hole, and she finished an up-and-down tournament in a tie for 25th. After kicking off competition with the best round ever played a UW women’s golfer and following that up with a 5-over day Tuesday, the junior bettered her score by a shot and finished at 216.
Junior Julianne Alvarez’ 6-over 78 Wednesday tied the worst score of the Regional for any UW golfer. She finished in a tie for 46th with a total score of 6-over 221.
Sophomore Karen Miyamoto rounded out the Washington with a 3-over 75 Wednesday to end up in a tie for 54th.
No. 2 Alabama won the Regional, going 33-under over the three days and bettering its score each round.
The Huskies advance to their fourth NCAA Championship in five years and their 13th in Mary Lou Mulflur’s 34 years as head coach. The tournament will be held at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., and will begin May 18.
Reach Sports Editor Josh Kirshenbaum at email@example.com. Twitter: @J_Kirshenbaum