Tom Murphy is a sports reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll. He was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
UA golf season ends at regional
A Razorback head cover sits in a golf bag at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers during practice rounds for the Walmart NWA Arkansas Championship.
Led by senior Kajal Mistry and freshman Reagan Zibilski, the University of Arkansas women’s golf team surged into fifth place midway through the final round of the NCAA Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) Regional, but eventually dropped back a spot at the end to see their season end on Wednesday.
The No. 45 Razorbacks finished at 16 over, one shot out of tying No. 3 LSU for fifth place on the 6,318-yard PGA National course in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The late dip cost Arkansas a place in the 30-team field for the NCAA championships.
“We fell on the wrong side of one today,” Arkansas Coach Shauna Taylor said. “I’m gutted for our team but also proud of their fight in the final round.
“We have had a season of many lessons and opportunities of learning. We fell short of the end goal but I’m sure we will return in the fall better because of this season’s journey.”
No. 34 Michigan State shot a 3-over par to finish at 8 over and hold off No. 28 Duke by three strokes for the regional title. No. 10 Texas faded down the stretch before finishing at 14 over, tied with Northwestern for third place.
The top five finishers from six NCAA regionals advanced to the NCAA championships on May 19-24 in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The final slot at the PGA National came down to a battle between SEC foes Arkansas and LSU, who were playing partners. The Tigers pulled into a tie with Ingrid Lingblad’s birdie on No. 8, her penultimate hole, then LSU moved ahead when Arkansas junior Miraim Ayora bogeyed her final hole, No. 9.
Mistry had a scintillating round of 3-under 69 that featured five birdies. She carded at even par 216 for the regional to finish in sole possession of fifth.
LSU’s Latanna Stone and first-round leader Brooke Biermann of Michigan State were co-medalists at 3 under, followed by Miami’s Sara Bryne (-2), Duke’s Andie Smith (-1) and Mistry.
The freshman Zibilski also posted five birdies en route to a 3-under 69 and finished at 3 over and a tie for 14th place.
Arkansas senior Julia Gregg was at even par on the day through 13 holes before a double bogey on the par 3 fifth hole. She finished 2 over for the day and 5 over at the regional and tied for 19th.
Ayora also shot 2-over 74 on the day and was 8 over, tied for 28th. The Razorbacks’ non-counting score came from senior Ela Anacona, who had a 9-over 81 and tied for 58th.
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