Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., May 13, 2015 — Led by a fifth-place finish by senior Olivia Lugar, Washington University in St. Louis posted a third-place finish at the 2015 NCAA Division III Women's Golf Championship held Tuesday-Friday at the El Campeon Golf Course at the Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.
The third-place finish is the highest in school history, and the 59th top-four finish by a WashU athletics team in school history.
"It was a championship week for the record book for our program. To finish third in the nation is a tremendous accomplishment," said seventh-year head coach Sean Curtis. "I'm speaking for everyone when I say how proud we are to represent such a wonderful university that allows our student-athletes to pursue their educational dreams. I know this week will provide countless memories to look back upon with a smile on their face."
The Bears finished the NCAA Championship with a four-day total of 1,285 (320-318-318-329), four strokes behind second place Wittenberg University (1,281). Williams College secured its first national championship with a 1,263.
Mary Hardin-Baylor's McKenzie Ralston completed her impressive weeklong performance by winning the individual title with a 13-over 301, besting Wittenberg 's Macy Hubbard by four strokes.
Lugar finished a career-best fifth place at the NCAA Championship with a 22-over 310 (73-79-75-83). She struggled out of the gate Friday shooting an 8-over 44, but rebounded with a 3-over 39 on the back with a birdie on No. 17. Lugar was second in the tournament field in Par 5 scoring (4.94).
She concludes her career as the winningest player in school history with 14 tournament titles, and is the lone four-time first-team All-American selection in school history.
"I am so proud of our team. This was a test of endurance. The course required concentration and confidence on every shot, and we were able to power through the heat and hills to finish strong," Lugar said. "These four days have been such an amazing ride. It's incredibly exciting to make WashU history by having the highest finish at Nationals. It's a great day to be a bear!"
Junior Connie Zhou recorded her third-straight top-20 NCAA finish with a four-day total of 320 (82-79-79-80) to tie for 15th place. She started quick with a 1-over 37 on the front, which included a birdie on the opening hole. Zhou got in trouble on the back and finished with a 7-over 43.
After finishing in 26th place in her rookie season, Samantha Han followed that performance up with a 28th place finish as a sophomore with a score of 327 (79-84, 79-85). Han recorded five pars and 13 bogeys on the final day.
Curtis has led Washington U. to a top-10 finish in three-straight years, and four times in school history. The Bears finished the 2014-15 season with a 312.77 scoring average, the lowest in school history. WashU posted six wins on the season, including the inaugural University Athletic Association (UAA) championship.
This is the second consecutive year, and the sixth overall, in which Oglethorpe University and the Central Florida Sports Commission have teamed up to host the NCAA Division III Women's Golf Championship at the Mission Inn Resort and Club. Next year's national championship will be hosted by the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Houston.
BEAR NOTEBOOK: The Bears tied for the tournament lead in birdies (26) and second in pars (175) … WashU led the field in par 3 scoring (3.36), and was fourth in par 4 scoring (4.67) and sixth in par 5 scoring (5.49).
5. Olivia Lugar – 73-79-75-83, 310
T15. Connie Zhou – 82-79-79-80, 320
T28. Samantha Han – 79-84-79-85, 327
T42. Erin Drolet – 86-76-85-89, 336
T61. Jessica Wibawa – 95-85-87-81, 348