Rachel Newren moves on the the national championship with a 2nd place finish at the NCAA West Regional (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
AUBURN -- BYU's Rachel Newren finished in second place and advanced the NCAA Championship while BYU came up just short of moving on, finishing 10th at the NCAA West Regional at the Washington National Golf Club on Saturday.
BYU started the day in 9th place and needed to make up three strokes on eighth place Arkansas in order to finish in the top eight and advance. The Cougars were looking to make their second consecutive appearance at the NCAA championship heading into the final round, but came up six shot short of eigth-place finisher Arkansas, who went 47-over-par.
"It was a disappointing day," BYU head coach Sue Nyhus said. "We thought could make it in today, but unfortunately we didn't get a full team effort and came up a couple of scores short."
Meanwhile Newren enjoyed her third consecutive solid round and placed second at the West Regional for the second straight year. With her impressive even-par finish, Newren becomes one of two individual qualifiers to advance to the National Championship. She becomes the first Cougar individual to earn her way to the national championship since Carrie Summerhays in 2000. The 2005 All-American from Salt Lake City finished all alone in second place, going 71-73-72--216.
"I'm really excited for Rachel," Nyhus said. "She played great golf all week and showed why she is an All-American."
Washington's Paige Mackenzie took home medalist honors at eight-under-par playing on her home golf course while Purdue upset No. 2 UCLA for team championship. The Mountain West's UNLV was the lone conference team to advance, finishing in sixth place at 40-over-par.
Similar to the first round, BYU struggled to get four good scores. Along with Newren's 72, the Cougars counted a 76 from Danielle von Arnim, a 78 from Alexis Edwards and an 82 from Juli Wightman. Over the last three holes the Cougars were six-over as team, which was the difference in advancing and going home.
Fortunately, BYU will return their entire team next season. Alexis Edwards finishes her junior season in good form with a 78-75-78--231, which was good for 40th place out of 108 individuals. Danielle von Arnim came back after struggling the first two day to score a 76 and finish tied for 81st place. Sophomores Ashley Childers and Juli Wightman both finished tied for 86th place.
"It's been a great year for BYU golf," Nyhus said. "We're ranked No. 27 in the nation and should be moving up because we beat a few top 25 teams. We're excited about the progress this team made, and we'll all be back next year with that much more experience."
BYU ends it season, but Newren will continue to her junior year in the biggest tournament in women's college golf. As one of the top golfers in BYU history, Newren will get a chance to shine at the national championship held in Columbus, Ohio on May 16-19.
BYU INDIVIDUAL SCORES
2. Rachel Newren 71-73-72--216 E
T40. Alexis Edwards 78-75-78--231 +15
T81. Danielle von Arnim 81-83-76--240 +24
T86. Juli Wightman 84-75-82--241 +25
T86. Ashley Childers 77-79-85--241 +25
1. Purdue 289-294-298--281 +17
2. UCLA 288-303-296--887 +23
3. Washington 288-303-297--888 +24
4. Stanford 303-295-298--896 +32
5. Georgia 296-302-302--900 +36
6. UNLV 304-301-299--904 +40
7. Arizona 303-300-307--910 +46
8. Arkansas 299-307-305--911 +47
9. UC Irvine 301-312-300--913 +49
10. BYU 307-302-308--917 +53
11. Georgia St. 308-308-303--919 +55
12. San Jose St. 305-309-306--920 +56
13. Oregon St. 306-313-306--925 +61
14 New Mexico 307-318-301--926 +62
15. New Mexico St. 303-320-318--941 +77
16. Denver +80
17. Long Beach St. +86
18. Washington State +87
19. Oral Roberts +87
20. Montana +93
21. Bradley +102