NCAA Women's Golf Championships: Haley Moore putts Arizona to NCAA title
Haley Moore sunk a birdie putt on the 19th hole of her match against Alabama's Lakareber Abe to lift Arizona to a 3-2 win over top-ranked and second-seeded Alabama to win the 2018 NCAA title Wednesday at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma, giving the Wildcats their third NCAA title in program history and first since 2000. Arizona becomes the fourth different Pac-12 program to win the national championship in the past four seasons.
It capped off a wild three-day run for the Wildcats, who snuck into the match-play quarterfinals after beating Baylor in a playoff and then defeated top-seeded UCLA and fifth-seeded Stanford in the quarterfinals and semifinals on Tuesday to reach the national championship match.
— Arizona Women's Golf (@ArizonaWGolf) May 24, 2018
"It means so much. It's actually like a dream. I never thought winning a national championship would be like this," an ecstatic Moore told the Golf Channel after helping the Wildcats secure the national championship.
With the overall match tied at 2-2 following Sandra Nordaas' 1 UP triumph over Alabama's Angelica Moresco, Moore had a one-hole lead over Abe with one to play, but Abe hit a masterful approach shot on the 18th that gave her a very makeable eagle putt and an easy two-putt for birdie, while Moore recorded a par to send it to a 19th hole (they replayed the 18th). Abe and Moore hit their third shots pretty close to each other for makeable birdie putts, but Abe missed hers to set up Moore for a chance to clinch the national championship. What nerves? This was as smooth as smooth can be:
— Ryan Kelapire (@RKelapire) May 24, 2018
"This year has been an interesting year, but with the talent of these five young women, I knew anything was possible," head coach Laura Ianello told the Golf Channel. "When we got here – getting through regionals could be a bear – I knew anything was possible."
Arizona got a huge win at match one with Yu-Sang Hou defeated first-team All-American Lauren Stephenson 4&3 to give the Wildcats their first team point after the two halved the 15th. Hou dropped the first hole but went on a tear on the back nine, turning an all-square match through nine holes into a four-hole lead after 13. First-team All-American Kristen Gillman provided a quick response for the Crimson Tide, getting a 4&3 victory of her own over Gigi Stoll. Gillman jumped on Stoll early, leading from the first hole on and building her edge to four holes after the 10th.
Another first-team All-American, Cheyenne Knight, was next to strike for the Crimson Tide, as she beat Bianca Pagdanganan 4&2 to put 'Bama one match away from the national championship. However, the back end of the lineup worked wonders for the Wildcats.
The NCAA Men's Golf Championships begin Friday at Karsten Creek. Four Pac-12 teams – Arizona State, Oregon, UCLA and Stanford – and Arizona's George Cunningham will be in attendance. Pac-12.com will provide daily recaps throughout the championship, which runs May 25-30.