TULSA, Okla. – Making only its second appearance, the Mississippi State women’s golf team capped off a record-setting season by securing its first ever top-10 scorecard at the NCAA Championship on Friday, with Ally McDonald placing in the top-5.
Entering the final round fresh off the school’s best ever NCAA Championship round at 283, the Bulldogs fired a 7-over-par 287 to claim sixth place with a final tournament score of 37-over-par 1,157. The 1,157 championship score is 64-shots better and 18 spots higher up the leaderboard than last season’s performance in the event.
“We set goals at the beginning of the season, and we very meticulously go through what it takes on a daily basis to attain them,” MSU head coach Ginger Brown-Lemm said. “We give our effort to the daily dedication to excellence, and it has paid off for us here with a sixth-place finish at the National Championship.”
Brown-Lemm’s squad finishes as the highest Southeastern Conference school, while also beating four top-10 and 13 top-25 schools.
“Our efforts as coaches are supported by many: Midge Davis, Scotty Johnson, Brian Neil, Brian Cain, other coaches who I quiz to get better at my trade, mentors of mine, Bill Rice, my husband Floyd and children Parker and Paige, Starkville Country Club and Old Waverly Golf Club. They support what Coach (Leigh) Phillips and I do. We could not do it without them,” Brown-Lemm said.
All-SEC member Ally McDonald notched a 3-under-par 67 in her final round to rise up the leaderboard into a tie for fourth at 1-under-par 279. McDonald went on to post the lowest single-season stroke average in the program’s history at 71.48, while also registering the most birdies in a single-campaign at 114.
The Fulton, Miss., native used consecutive birdies on holes 12 and 13 and again on her final two holes of the day to pick up her sixth top-5 scorecard of the campaign. McDonald was one of only six golfers at the championship to have a tournament score of even-par or better.
“It feels good to play well and finish fourth,” McDonald said. “I’m so proud of this team and the way we have played all year. We accomplished everything we wanted and more. I can’t wait for next year.”
Stringing together two impressive rounds to conclude her tournament, Rica Tse shot an even-par 70 with three birdies to post a 1-under-par 139 over her last two rounds. Tse chiseled off 16 shots from her opening two rounds to her final two rounds to record the second-best Bulldog score.
The fabulous freshman duo of Jessica Peng and Ji Eun Baik each turned in 5-over-par 75 Friday rounds to complete their debut seasons. Peng closes the book on the top freshman-season in Bulldog history, posting the best stroke average (73.71), most birdies (74), most par or better rounds (11) and most rounds in the 60s (3). Baik totaled the second-most birdies by an MSU golfer with 11 at the championship.
Rounding out the Maroon and White lineup in her final collegiate round was Mary Langdon Gallagher, who had an 80 on the day. The team’s only senior, Gallagher leaves Starkville after competing in the second-most rounds in program-history with 120, just two shy of the top spot.
No. 3 Duke held onto first to win the National Championship at 10-over-par 1130. Doris Chen of No. 1 Southern California took home the individual crown at 6-under-par 274.
Final Round – May 23, 2014
1. No. 3 Duke (293-285-278-274=1130, +10); 2. No. 1 Southern California (293-291-278-270=1132, +12); 3. No. 2 UCLA (291-293-283-278=1145, +25); 4. No. 7 Oklahoma (288-287-291-281=1147, +27); 5. No. 5 Arizona State (293-287-291-279=1150, +30); 6. No. 27 Mississippi State (302-285-283-287=1157, +37); T7. No. 11 Arizona (298-286-287-287=1158, +38); T7. No. 22 Ohio State (299-291-288-280=1158, +38); 9. No. 10 Alabama (305-285-289-282=1161, +41); T10. No. 8 Vanderbilt (303-290-286-284=1163, +43); T10. No. 30 Texas A&M (305-292-288-278=1163, +43); T10. No. 17 NC State (307-284-280-292=1163, +43); 13. No. 4 South Carolina (301-299-283-281=1164, +44); 14. No. 18 Virginia (303-295-288-279=1165, +45); T15. No. 15 Northwestern (305-289-284-288=1166, +46); T15. No. 31 Tulane (303-294-278-291=1166, +46); 17. No. 6 Washington (299-289-293-286=1167, +47) T18. No. 12 Stanford (300-286-294-289=1169, +49); T18. No. 21 Florida (305-292-290-282=1169, +49); T20. No. 45 Campbell (305-303-289-281=1178, +58); T20. No. 20 Michigan State (305-283-302-288=1178, +58); 22. No. 25 California (296-305-289-290=1180, +60): 23. No. 24 Iowa State (306-298-292-290=1186, +66); 24. No. 29 Kansas (313-293-303-292=1201, +81)
MSU INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
T4. Ally McDonald 73-68-71-67=279, -1
T59. Jessica Peng 75-70-74-75=294, +14
T59. Rica Tse 78-77-69-70=294, +14
T84. Ji Eun Baik 80-75-69-75=299, +19
T98. Mary Langdon Gallagher 76-72-74-80=302, +22