UCLA, behind Lua, take six-shot lead at NCAAs

UCLA's Tiffany Lua hits her tee shot at No. 9. Lua made a hole-in-one at No. 11.

Women's Rankings »

RankNameSchoolRating
1SooBin KimWashington  68.13 
2Alison LeeUCLA  69.06 
3Leona MaguireDuke  69.52 
4Nanna MadsenS Carolina  69.75 
5Dana FinkelsteinUNLV  69.83 

Women's Team Rankings »

RankNameRatingEvents
1Washington 70.58 
2South Carolina 70.87 
3UCLA 71.23 
4Duke 71.35 
5Stanford 71.38 

Bryan, Texas – Buoyed by an ace from Tiffany Lua on the par-3 11th, UCLA vaulted back into the lead at the NCAA Division I Women’s Championship with a 6-shot advantage over Purdue. The third round at the Traditions was delayed because of lightning in the area and the Bruins came outfairly flat.

UCLA coach Carrie Forsyth called Lua’s ace a momentum changer. Lua said she hit 7-iron from 155 yards on the 11th hole.

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“Didn’t quite see it, but I’ll take it,” said the sophomore, who followed that with a birdie on No. 12. Lua holds a three-stroke lead over Georgia’s Marta Silva Zamora, who is here without her team, in the individual race.

Purdue coach Devon Brouse said the volunteer changing the scoreboard on the 14th complained of constantly having to change the lead between UCLA and Purdue. That changed late in the evening when three bogeys on No. 14 and a pair of double bogeys on the 15th sent the defending champs in the wrong direction. Purdue returned its entire starting lineup from the 2010 championship team, so Brouse’s squad is in familiar territory.

The No. 2-ranked Bruins have won five titles this season while the Boilermakers have won four. Purdue is 2-1 against UCLA this season.

“They’ll respond,” said Brouse of his fivesome. The veteran coach is well aware that with five players on the course, those working the scoreboards on Saturday.

Forsyth felt like the day was getting away from them due to some “silly mistakes” after the rain delay, calling the lengthy timeout “unsettling” for her players. Still, she stood in the parking lot long after the sun went down and praised her team for “fighting hard.” She’s specifically impressed by Lua, a personable, energetic player she calls fearless.

“She can makes things happen,” Forsyth said.

Forsyth has been to NCAA’s several times before with teams that were expected to take home the prize. UCLA is trying to win its first title since 2004 and third overall. Forsyth brought a deep team to Texas, with all five Bruins ranked inside the top 34.

The UCLA mantra this season has been “calm confidence.” It’s easy to believe watching this close-knit team interact. Saturday will likely be a two-team race between the Bruins and Boilermakers as LSU and Virginia sit 13 shot behind.

The last group was on the 15th tee when play was called due to darkness.

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