Stanford, UCLA to meet for women’s golf title


CARLSBAD, Calif. — Megha Ganne won her last three holes and top-seeded Stanford held on to beat Southern California on Tuesday, advancing to the title match against UCLA in an all-Pac-12 final for the NCAA women’s golf championship.

UCLA got big performances from Carolina Canales, Meghan Royal and Natalie Vo, who each won matches in the quarterfinals and semifinals on a long, tough day at La Costa.

Stanford will be going for its second NCAA title in the last three years, and the third time since the NCAA switched to match play for the team title in 2015.

Sadie Englemann needed 19 holes to beat former Augusta National Women’s Amateur champion Anna Davis as the Cardinal beat Auburn in the quarterfinals Tuesday morning. She then built a 5-up lead at the turn for a 7-and-5 win over Cindy Kou in the semifinals as Stanford atoned for losing to USC in the semifinals last year.

Englemann ended the match with a 35-foot putt that she said summed up her day.

“Everything fell my way,” she said. “I made a lot of birdies, which is nice to see. And I gained a bit of confidence this morning, beating one of the best players in the country.”

But it was tight for the Cardinal the rest of the way. Amari Avery held off Stanford’s Rachel Heck in 17 holes, and the final three matches could have gone either way.

Stanford coach Anne Walker noticed her team missing putts early “and I was curious if that was going to linger. And it didn’t.”

“You don’t win a championship without playing great golf for three days,” she said.

Ganne was 1 down to Brianna Navarrosa when she birdied the 15th, won the par-3 16th with a par and closed out her 2-and-1 victory with a birdie on the 17th. Kelly Xu of Stanford was 1 up when Catherine Park bogeyed the 15th and left a bunker shot in the sand to bogey the 16th. Xu made a 10-foot par putt on the 16th to close her out.

UCLA has three NCAA titles in women’s golf, all in medal play and the last one in 2011. The Bruins knocked off Texas A&M in the quarterfinals, and then quickly built a 3-0 lead against Oregon.

Canales was the lead match and won the first four holes against Karen Tsuru of Oregon, needing only 13 holes to win the match. Right behind was Royal, who never trailed against Ching-Tzu Chen and closed her out with a 40-foot birdie putt.

Vo built a 3-up lead at the turn against Minori Nagano and won, 2 and 1. That sent the Bruins, who defeated Texas A&M in the quarterfinals, into the championship match Wednesday.

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