By From school reports
NORMAN, Okla. – Mississippi State broke new ground for its women’s golf program on Saturday, qualifying for the NCAA Championships for the first time.
Sophomore Ally McDonald, from Fulton, shot a career-best 68 for her third under-par round to win the NCAA Central Regional and help the Bulldogs to a third-place team finish.
McDonald played the front nine in 33 and survived a double bogey on the par-5 18th. She helped offset that with five birdies and an eagle 2.
“Surprisingly, I just felt very relaxed,” McDonald said. “Most of my shots were fairly consistent. I didn’t have very many big misses, obviously, besides the last hole. I kind of stumbled coming in but the eagle on 16 kind of canceled that double out.”
McDonald (69-69-68–206) finished five strokes ahead of Duke’s Alejandra Cangrejo (72-69-70–211), and Oklahoma golfers Emily Collins (67-70-74–211) and A.C. Tanguay (71-70-70–211).
Her MSU teammate Rica Tse shot a 69 on Saturday to boost the effort.
The Bulldogs came into the regional tournament unranked and seeded 19th out of 24 teams. They closed with a round of 7-under 281 on Saturday to finish third.
The 281 is the second-lowest round in program history, while their three-day 872 is the second-lowest tournament card in history.
Third-ranked Duke (851) finished first and fourth-ranked Oklahoma (857) second.
“It’s kind of surreal,” third-year MSU coach Ginger Brown-Lemm said. “I’m elated that all of the girls were firing on all cylinders on the same round. It is something we haven’t been able to enjoy yet.”
The NCAA Championships will be played at the UGA Golf Course in Athens, Ga., on May 21-24. The event will be a four-round stroke-play tournament.