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Team winner: USC (12-over 876)
Individual winner: Noemi Jimenez, Arizona State (3-under 213)
Also moving on: Teams – 2. Washington (877), 3. Arizona State (889), 4. Oklahoma (895), 5. Michigan State (903), T-6. Iowa State (909), T-6. Texas A&M (909), 8. Northwestern (914).
Individuals – Clariss Guce, Cal State-Northridge (221); Tonje Daffinrud, Denver (223).
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5 straight for USC
A day after struggling down the stretch and falling into a share of the lead at the NCAA Women’s West Regional, USC had a better finish Saturday en route to a fifth straight regional title.
The Trojans, the top-ranked team in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings and defending national champions, had its five players combine to shoot 3 under in the final seven holes in cold and windy conditions at Tumble Creek Club in Cle Elum, Wash. USC capped its 12-over 876 total with a 10-over 298 for a one-shot victory over Washington, which led by as many as five shots on the back nine.
The victory is the Trojans’ ninth of the season, which adds to a school record.
Individually, defending national medalist Annie Park tied for second with Washington’s SooBin Kim at 1-under 215 after a final-round 1-over 73. Kyung Kim (T-4) and Karen Chung (T-10) also notched top 10s for USC.
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What a time to pick up one’s first victory of the season.
Arizona State junior Noemi Jimenez notched her third career individual win, and first of the season, shooting 3-under 213 and winning by two shots. Her final-round 72 was one of just four rounds of even-par or better on Saturday.
She becomes the first Arizona State player to win a region individual crown since Carlota Ciganda in 2009. It’s also her 10th top-10 finish in 11 events this season.
And despite the seventh-ranked Sun Devils’ poor finish – they carded a final-round, 23-over 889 – Arizona State still finished third and advanced to an NCAA-record 23rd straight NCAA Championship.
“It feels really good,” Jimenez said. “We made it a goal to make it to Nationals, and it feels really good to advance to the championship this year. Today was a tough day overall, so the scores weren’t as low. But it was a good finish anyway.”
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Iowa State tied for sixth with Texas A&M at 45-over 909 to earn the program’s first NCAA Championship berth. “It’s a huge step for us and it shows a lot of people what kind of program we have,” Cyclones head coach Christie Martens said. . . . A day after shooting 296, Northwestern struggled to a final-round 316, but still earned the eighth and final championship berth out of the region at 50-over 914.