Notes: After NCAA title, Park prepares for prom

Sophia Popov attempts to douse Annie Park in the final round of the 2013 Women's NCAA Championship. Park is the seventh freshman to win the individual title.

Sophia Popov attempts to douse Annie Park in the final round of the 2013 Women's NCAA Championship. Park is the seventh freshman to win the individual title.

Women's Rankings »

RankNameSchoolRating
1Alison LeeUCLA  69.68 
2Annie ParkUSC  69.98 
3Gaby LopezArkansas  70.08 
4Yu LiuDuke  70.13 
5Stephanie MeadowAlabama  70.15 

Women's Team Rankings »

RankNameRatingEvents
1Southern California 70.56  10 
2UCLA 70.68 
3Duke 70.79 
4Stanford 71.56  10 
5Arkansas 71.66 

FINAL TEAM AND INDIVIDUAL RESULTS

• • •

ATHENS, Ga. –– What’s next for Annie Park, winner of the NCAA Championship?

She’s off to buy a prom dress. Park, 18, will head back to Levittown, N.Y., to attend MacArthur High School’s prom and walk at graduation.

If that all sounds a little backwards, that’s because Park earned enough high school credits to join USC’s lineup in January. Park is only the second player in NCAA history to sweep the postseason, taking titles at the Pac-12 Championship, NCAA West Regional and NCAA Championship. Arizona’s Marisa Baena won all three in 1996 as a freshman.

“It was unexpected,” Park said in the understatement of the day.

Park hit a 5-wood from 220 yards on the 18th hole at the University of Georgia Golf Course to set up a two-putt birdie. It gave her a 10-under 278 total and a commanding six-stroke victory over Duke senior Lindy Duncan.

How good was Park’s semester?

“It just blew the top off of everything,” said USC head coach Andrea Gaston.

When things settled down on Friday, Park snuck off to call longtime instructor Sean Foley, a box of chocolate milk in her hand.

“Most of the time, I had no clue where I stood,” said Park, talking about her postseason trifecta.

It might be some time before Park appreciates what she has accomplished. In the meantime, she likely has a prom limo to catch.

• • •

ENDING ON A HIGH NOTE: Lindy Duncan picked a fine time to record her first eagle of the season. In fact, the Duke senior nearly holed out her 3-wood on the closing par-5 18th for a rare albatross.

She settled for a 3, moving her to solo second behind Park. When Duncan’s 15-foot putt dropped, she unleashed what might be biggest fist pump in her four years at Duke.

“I can’t believe I finished that way,” said Duncan, who birdied her last four holes at the 2012 NCAA finals. “It was so exciting.”

Duncan is only the second player in Duke history to notch three consecutive top 10s at the NCAA Championship, joining Amanda Blumenherst.

• • •

FROM LAST TO HAPPY: Auburn put together an incredible turnaround, jumping from 24th after the first round (dead last) to sixth overall. It’s the Tigers' best finish since they came in third in 2005. They failed to advance to the NCAA Championship in 2011 and ’12.

“There’s no words to describe what we just did,” said Victoria Trapani.

Auburn head coach Kim Evans was diagnosed with ovarian cancer the week of NCAA East Regional, and her Tigers delivered the most inspiring performance of the year, advancing in the eighth position.

After a regrettable start by the Tigers in Athens, Evans flew up on Auburn’s private plane to watch her team play in the second round. She flew out after watching them tee off in Round 3, needing to rest before her chemo treatments begin.

Trapani, whose mother is also battling cancer, followed an opening 80 with rounds of 72-69-74.

“My goal for the week was to not use what I’ve been through as an excuse,” said Trapani, who succeeded at that in the last three rounds.

On a surprising note, Auburn also managed to beat in-state rival Alabama, a tournament favorite going into the week with seven victories this season. The Tide finished seventh.

No one was more proud than Evans.

“This team has been through more than any team in the nation, more than they deserved,” Evans said. “A lot has been said that they played for me, that they did it under pressure, but the bottom line is that this is a great team with so much talent. They just went out and played their hearts out this week, and I could not be more proud of them.”

• • •

BIG TEAM ON CAMPUS: Purdue extended its top-10 streak at NCAAs to eight years, joining top-ranked USC as the only program to boast such a level of consistency. Perhaps more impressive, the Boilermakers have five top-4 finishes in those eight years, making the women’s golf team the most decorated team – men or women – on campus.

• • •

SHORT SHOTS: Michigan State tied for ninth, a program best. Senior Caroline Powers won the Dinah Shore Trophy Award, given to the player who most excels in both academics and athletics, competing in at least 50 percent of the team’s events. The winner must also demonstrate leadership skills and community service. “I’m happy with it as a collective piece,” said Powers of her three-victory career at MSU. She plans to turn professional immediately. Her first start will be the June 14-16 Symetra Tour event in Decatur, Ill. . . . All five USC players finished in the top 17. . . . On a day when the winds picked up in Athens and the temperature dropped, no one broke 70 in the final round.

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