May 25, 2014 12:17:00 AM
TULSA, Okla. -- Making only its second appearance, the Mississippi State women's golf team fired a 7-over-par 287 Friday to finish sixth at the NCAA Championship on the par-70 6,194-yard Tulsa Country Club.
All-Southeastern Conference performer Ally McDonald shot a 3-under-par 67 in the final round to tie for fourth at 1-under-par 279
The team finish marked MSU's first top-10 finish at the NCAA Championship.
"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 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."
MSU finished at 37-over-par 1,157. The 1,157 is 64 shots better and 18 spots higher up the leaderboard than the team's finish last season. It enabled MSU to earn the highest finish of any SEC school.
"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," Brown-Lemm said. "They support what coach (Leigh) Phillips and I do. We could not do it without them."
McDonald posted the lowest single-season stroke average in the program's history at 71.48. She also had the most birdies in a season (114). The Fulton native used consecutive birdies on holes 12 and 13 and on her final two holes to earn her sixth top-five scorecard of the season. She was one of six golfers to have a score of even-par or better.
Rica Tse shot an even-par 70 with three birdies to post a 1-under-par 139 in her last two rounds. Jessica Peng and Ji Eun Baik each turned in 5-over-par 75s Friday, while Mary Langdon Gallagher had an 80. Peng and Tse tied for 59th at +14, while Baik tied for 84th at +19 and Gallagher tied for 98th with a +22.
Duke outlasted Southern California in the final round to claim the school's sixth national championship. The Blue Devils shot 6-under Friday for a 10-over-par 1,130 to edge the Trojans, who carded a 10-under 270 in the final round, by two shots (+12, 1,132).
UCLA finished third at 25-over 1,145 with Oklahoma fourth (+27, 1,147), and Arizona State fifth (+30, 1,150).
USC's Doris Chen won medalist honors with a 6-under 274. She shot a final-round 67.
Alabama, which shot its best round at 2-over-par 282, finished ninth. The Crimson Tide finished 41-over-par 1,161 for the program's fifth straight top-10 finish at the NCAA Championships, and the sixth overall.
Stephanie Meadow shot a 4-under-par 66 to tie for fourth at 1-under-par 279. Her 279 total is the lowest 72-hole score in school history, and the second-best total in relation to par.
Janie Jackson and Emma Talley recorded even-par 70s in the final round. Jackson finished tied for 33rd at 9-over-par 289, while Talley tied for 38th at 10-over 290.
Mia Landegren counted toward the team total for the fourth time in as many rounds with a 6-over 76 that left her tied for 105th at 24-over 304. Cammie Gray shot a final round 78 to finish 121st at 30-over 310.
1. Woods officially takes over at Starkville High HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Cohen, Bulldogs look for answers after 2015 season COLLEGE SPORTS