Cougars move up to fourth at NCAAs

Natalie Newren moved into a tie for 12th place at NCAA West Regional

LAS CRUCES, N. M. (May 6, 2005) --BYU's women's golf team remains on track to advance to the NCAA finals for the first time in 20 years.

BYU had two solid scores from its two seniors to post a 305 (+17) on another windy day in Las Cruces and move into a tie for fourth place at the NCAA West Regional at the New Mexico State University Golf Course on Friday. Three Cougars are among the top 20 individuals in a field of 107 golfers competing to advance to the NCAA Championship round.

BYU seniors Natalie Newren and Margaret Wright played like they weren't ready for their careers to end as both moved into the top 20 after posting solid scores in the second round. Natalie Newren picked a good time to turn in her third best round of the season as she finished the day with a one-over 73 and tied for 16th. Wright was also right on with a three-over 75 round on Friday. She is tied for 12th place at five over par.

"Our seniors really pulled their load; they were fabulous," BYU head coach Sue Nyhus said. "Natalie and Margaret were the key for us today. They stepped up and kept us in the hunt."

Meanwhile Rachel Newren had an off day but still remains tied for sixth place after going six-over on the day. Newren is just five shots out of the lead and tied with two others at three-over-par for the tournament.

"Rachel (Newren) didn't have her best day out there, but she's still right there at the top," Nyhus said. "Even without a real low score from Rachel we had a good enough score to move up, which is great."

The Cougars are just two strokes out of second place and eight strokes behind first place USC. Third-ranked UCLA and No. 24 California are tied with No. 36 BYU in fourth place at 27-over-par. Second-ranked Georgia is third at 26-over-par while No. 12 Tennesse is in second at 25-over-par. Behind the Cougars are several ranked teams including No. 8 Oklahoma State who trails BYU by two strokes. MWC Champion UNLV is 10 strokes behind the Cougars at 37-over-par.

With one round remaining BYU is within reach of becoming the first BYU team to advance past the NCAA Regional into the Championship round.

"It's great to be in the hunt," Nyhus said. "I told our team, 'if we play well on Saturday, we're going to advance.' It's that simple."

In order to advance to the championship round, BYU must finish among the top eight teams. The Cougars have competed in the NCAA regionals 10 times since the regional format began in 1993 and have never finished higher than 11th place. BYU finished in 13th place last season. BYU's last NCAA tournament was 20 years ago (1985) when it played on this same golf course and finished 14th. Nyhus was a player on that team 20 years ago.

If the Cougars can score well on Saturday, they will be the first BYU women's golf team to advance past the NCAA Regionals. The NCAA Championshp round will be held onMay 17-20 in Sunriver, Ore. where the MWC tournament was held two weeks ago.

"We put ourselves in position--Now it's Cougar Time," Nyhus said. "We got a chance to do something great tomorrow."

BYU will tee off in the first wave beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday. Follow the Cougars live on the internet in their quest for their first appearance to the NCAA tournament in 20 years at www.golfstat.com.

TEAM LEADER BOARD

1. USC 293-302--595 +19

2. Tennessee 291-310--601 +25

3. Georgia 296-306--602 +26

4. Brigham Young 298-305--603 +27

4. California 296-307--603 +27

4. UCLA 304-299--603 +27

7. Oklahoma State 304-301--605 +29

7. Oregon 301-304--605 +29

9. Washington State 302-305--607 +14

9. Stanford 306-301--607 +31

11. UC Irvine 308-300--608 +32

12. UNLV 301-312--613 +37

12. Colorado State 308-305--613 +37

14. Arizona 303-314--617 +41

19 Teams competing

BYU INDIVIDUAL SCORES

T6. Rachel Newren 69-78--147 +3

T12. Margaret Wright 74-75--149 +5

T16. Natalie Newren 77-73--150 +6

T68. Juli Wightman 78-79--157 +3

T96. Alexis Edwards 83-79--162 +18

Tags: Results