Once again, the 2016 Virginia women's golf team used a clutch performance from one of its seniors to achieve postseason success. This time, however, it was senior Elizabeth Szokol who led the charge. Szokol's brilliant play helped Virginia finish 6th at the Stanford regional on Saturday with a score of 883. By doing so, the Cavaliers advanced to the NCAA finals by one stroke over Colorado, who finished at 884. It will be their ninth trip to the NCAA finals in the program's 13-year history.
After finishing Thursday's opening round tied for second, Virginia struggled on Friday and Saturday. The Cavaliers finished 31-over for the tournament and 27-over during the final two days. Their advancement wasn't clinched until Szokol finished her round with three straight pars Saturday afternoon. The Winnetka, Illinois native was absolutely brilliant down the stretch, playing her last 14 holes at 5-under. Szokol picked up the first individual win of her career, tying for individual medalist honors at 4-under.
It was a nail-biter but Hoos get it done and advance to NCAA Championships from Stanford Regional. pic.twitter.com/YvyE4vXl5S— UVA Women's Golf (@UVAWomensGolf) May 7, 2016
Szokol's teammates had more difficulty with the 6269-yard par-71 Stanford golf course. ACC golfer of the year Lauren Coughlin and freshman Morgan Gonzales each finished +10 and in a tie for 33rd. Freshman Anna Redding finished tied for 62nd a +14, and junior Lauren Diaz-Yi finished +21 and tied for 77th.
Virginia will next play in the 24-team NCAA Final in Eugene, Oregon on May 20. The Cavaliers are guaranteed three rounds of stroke play. The top 15 teams after Round 3 will move onto a fourth stroke-play round, and the top-eight teams after the fourth round will move to a match-play bracket. The match play rounds will be televised on the Golf Channel.