Lady Chanticleers fade late, fail to advance to NCAAs

Coastal Carolina looked to be in position to advance to the 2013 NCAA Championship through nine holes, but woes on the Chanticleers’ back nine ended the team’s 2012-13 campaign with a 12th-place finish at the NCAA Central Regional, played at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club in Norman, Okla.

The Chants played the back nine, their front nine, a combined 3-over and was solidly inside the fields’ top eight teams. However, Coastal’s four counters combined to shoot 13 over on the second nine, relegating them to a 299 team score and a 12th-place finish on the team leaderboard. The Chant’s 889 (293-297-299) score was the second best in program history in NCAA postseason play, trailing only the 876 posted by the 2011 team that advanced to the NCAA Championship. Coastal also finished ahead of six teams ranked in Golfstat’s top-50.

Third-ranked Duke claimed the Regional title with a 13-under 851. Host and fourth-ranked Oklahoma finished second with a 7-under 857. Joining the Blue Devils and Sooners in Athens, Ga., at the NCAA Championship are Mississippi State (872, +8), No. 9 Florida (877, +13), No. 15 Arizona State (878, +14), No. 16 UC Davis (880, +16), Wisconsin (883, +19) and No. 27 Michigan State (884, +20).

For the second straight round sophomore Frida Castillo was Coastal’s low scorer with a 2-over 74. Castillo played her first eight holes 2-over, but put together back-to-back birdies on 18 and one to move back to even-par. A par on two was then followed by a birdie on three, but she would go on to card bogeys on two of her next three holes, moving back to 2-over. Castillo closed her round with three straight pars. She finished the tournament in 42nd (tied) place with a (77-72-74) on the individual leaderboard.

Like Friday’s round, Chanticleers Brittany Henderson, Jessica Alexander and Lena Schaeffner posted matching 3-over 75 scores.

Henderson ended the tournament as Coastal top finisher among the 126-competitor field with a 3-over 54-hole score of 219 (69-75-75), placing 19th (tied). The senior stalwart opened her final collegiate round with five straight pars before trading bogeys and pars over the next four to make the turn at 2-over. She quickly moved back to even with birdies on the par-4 first and third holes. Henderson went on to finish the round with bogeys on three of her final six holes.

Alexander, who opted to play in the Regional instead of joining her classmates for commencement exercises in Conway, completed her final tournament as a collegian with a 5-over 221 (71-75-75), placing 30th (tied) overall. The Riverview, Fla., native started her day with a birdie on the par-4 10th hole. She went on to play her next eight holes at 1-over. She then sank a birdie putt on her 10th hole of the day to move back to 1-under. Three pars followed before an eight on the par-5 fifth pusher her to 2-over. Alexander pared the next three holes before carding a bogey on her final hole.

Schaeffner also opened the day with a birdie on 10 and later followed with a birdie on 13 to go along with a bogey and six pars for a 35 on her initial nine holes. She was steady through her first three holes on the front nine, making par putts on each. But bogeys on four of her final six holes left her 3-over for the day. Schaeffner ended her first NCAA Regional tournament with a 7-over 223 (76-75-75), placing tied for 62nd.

Marissa Hinchman rounded out the Chanticleer contingent with a 7-over 79 through the final 18 holes of play. The freshman was 1-under through her first five holes thanks to a birdie on the par-4, 368-yard 11th hole. However, six bogeys over her ensuing 10 holes left her at 5-over with a trio of holes to play. She pushed in par putts on seven and eight, but was forced to settle for a double-bogey on the par-4 ninth. Hinchman notched a three-round score of 236 (78-79-79). She placed tied for 103rd on the individual leaderboard.

The tournament concluded the Coastal Carolina careers of senior Jessica Alexander and Brittany Henderson. The duo goes down in the Chanticleer record books as two of the most decorated and successful individuals in program history.

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