Newren finishes 11th, Cougars 17th

Newren played like an All-American during the final round of the NCAA Championship on Friday at the LPGA International Legends Course.

DAYTONA BEACH -- Playing in her final tournament as a Cougar, BYU's Rachel Newren may have saved the best for last as she led the Cougars to a 17th place finish (BYU's second best finish in school history) at the NCAA Championship on Friday.

It was a record-setting day and an outstanding finish to one of the best seasons in BYU women's golf history. Newren and the Cougars broke several records as BYU made a final push on the final day to put an exclamation point on an outstanding season. BYU's fourth-round 306 was the best team round of the tournament and gave the Cougars their second highest NCAA Championship finish in school history--the best coming way back in 1985 at 14th place.

"It was a great week for BYU golf," BYU head coach Sue Nyhus said. "This team fought to the end and capped one of the best seasons ever with a strong final round. This team lost three out of its top seven golfers just prior to the tournament and to fight through that challenge to finish 17th at nationals is simply amazing."

Like so many tournaments before during her record-setting BYU career, the Mountain West Player of the Year Rachel Newren led the charge. Newren had the second-lowest round by any individual in the 2007 Championship, carding a final-round 68 and climbing her way to an 11th place finish. After her worst round of the season on Thursday, Newren bounced back like a champion to play arguably one of the best rounds of her career.

"I just put on a happy face and did my best to enjoy the moment knowing this was my last round as a Cougar," Newren said. "I totally changed my attitude from the day before and instead trying to force birdies and force putts to fall I just let them come. It was very satisfying to end my career this way."

Her 68 was the best ever by a Cougar in an NCAA Championship and her 11th place finish ties the BYU record for highest finish in an NCAA Championship. Newren broke nearly every BYU women's golf record during her time at BYU including the all-time career stroke average. After the tournament Newren, the three-time All-American, announced the start of her pro career and her intentions to return to the LPGA International course this fall for Q-school. After the tournament Newren was named a second-team NGCA All-American. Coach Nyhus credited Newren as a major reason for BYU's rise to national prominence in women's golf.

"I can't tell you how proud I am of Rachel," Nyhus said. "She is the best player in the history of this program and she set the standard and the expectations for this program. She set a mark that people will be reaching for for a long time. Thanks in a big part to her, BYU golf is on the rise."

Another major story for the Cougars was how they battled to the end and, thanks to birdies by Daphne Vines and Danielle von Arnim on the final hole, broke the BYU record for best four-round total of 1238 by two strokes. BYU's team championship record was in jeopardy before von Arnim, playing in her last collegiate tournament, birdied her last hole just before Vines finished off her first NCAA Championship with a sensational birdie putt. Vines, just one year removed from high school graduation, had and outstanding tournament for the Cougars. Vines finished 40th individually after going 75-77-76-76--304 on the intimidating LPGA International Legends course.

"For a freshman to come in here and played great golf for four straight days is amazing," Nyhus said. "That was a really special performance by Daphne--probably one of the best ever by a freshman her at BYU."

Junior Ashley Childers was another big story for BYU. Having not practiced with the team in five weeks and thinking her season was over, Childers returned to the BYU line up and made a huge impact in the championship. Childers played like she belonged in the starting five as BYU counted her score all four rounds. Childers finished in 81st place after going 78-7877-80--313.

"Ashley came in and was a huge lift for this team," Nyhus said. "She played great golf all week and I'm excited to have her back again next year to see what she can do."

Although the Cougar lose Newren, von Arnim and Alexis Edwards they return a talented and deep group of golfers led by Natalia Jimenez, Vines, Juli Erekson and Childers. BYU's 17th place finish at nationals doesn't look like a one-time chance, but thanks to the work of Nyhus, Newren and her teammates, something to be expected with each season to come.

BYU INDIVIDUAL SCORES

T11th Rachel Newren 77-71-81-68--297 +9

T40th Daphne Vines 75-77-76-76--304 +16

T81st Ashley Childers 78-78-77-80--313 +25

T108 Danielle von Arnim 79-82-81-82--324 +36

T117 Juli Erekson 79-80-87-83--329 +41

1 Duke 300 287 293 290 1170 +18

2 Purdue 303 294 291 297 1185 +33

3 UCLA 303 291 299 293 1186 +34

4 USC 295 306 304 291 1196 +44

5 Stanford 299 300 304 294 1197 +45

6 Vanderbilt 303 302 298 297 1200 +48

7 Pepperdine 306 299 300 297 1202 +50

8 Georgia 303 299 300 303 1205 +53

9 Auburn 309 304 300 300 1213 +61

10 Louisville 297 306 307 304 1214 +62

11 TCU 307 299 300 309 1215 +63

12 Wake Forest 306 300 306 305 1217 +65

13 Arizona St. 307 298 311 305 1221 +69

T14 Oklahoma St. 312 299 310 305 1226 +74

T14 Arizona 304 314 298 310 1226 +74

16 Michigan St. 310 307 312 303 1232 +80

T17 Tennessee 311 313 308 304 1236 +84

T17 BYU 309 306 315 306 1236 +84

19 UC Irvine 303 314 316 308 1241 +89

20 Denver 302 324 311 307 1244 +92

21 North Carolina297 321 311 319 1248 +96

22 New Mexico 305 314 320 315 1254 +102

23 Alabama 314 319 319 311 1263 +111

24 Indiana 320 318 323 310 1271 +119

Tags: Results