(Cover photo: Olivia Cason shot a 3-under-par 213 in three rounds and tied for sixth. Credit: Louisville Athletics)
Ira Green, University of Louisville Athletics
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It is fitting that one of Louisville women’s golf’s Kentucky natives made history on the same day as the Kentucky Derby, one of the most historic events nationally.
Freshman Olivia Cason, playing in her first collegiate postseason event, shot a 3-under-par 213 on Saturday at the NCAA Regional Championship in Bryan, Texas, and became the third Cardinal to qualify as an individual for the NCAA Championship. The Owensboro native tapped in three of her 10 birdies in the final round and is advancing to play from May 20-23 in Eugene, Ore.
Cason, who entered the day at eighth, logged a 2-over-par on the back nine, but responded with 1-under-par on the front. She birdied holes 5 and 6 and putted for par on six other holes. Her three-day score also is the third-best mark at an NCAA Regional Championship in school history and lowest since 2007.
Prior to Cason, Sara-Maude Juneau (2008) and Cindy LaCrosse (2009) were the only other Cardinals to qualify for the national championship as individuals.
Collectively, Louisville finished the event at the Traditions Golf Club in 11th with a 21-over-par 885.
Seniors Laura Restrepo and Katie Mitchell each closed their careers at the competition, finishing tied for 19th and tied for 42nd, respectively. Restrepo carded a 2-over-par 218 following her 2-over-par 74 and attained the best par-5 average in the field at 4.58. Mitchell, meanwhile, earned an 8-over-par 224.
Both played major roles in helping the Cardinals reach their third-consecutive regional championship.
Restrepo, who became the first Louisville women’s golfer to earn all-ACC honors, registered 16 top-10 finishes and averaged a stellar 74.16 average through 128 rounds of competition. Mitchell, in her two seasons with the Cardinals, earned nine top-10 finishes and compiled a 74.07 stroke average through 67 rounds.
Sophomore Molly Skapik achieved the fourth-best score on the team and tied for 67th. She achieved a 4-over-par 76 and capped the tournament with a 14-over-par 230.
NCAA Bryan Regional Championship
May 5-7, 2016
Traditions Golf Club (par 72/6,373 yards)
TOP-SIX TEAM SCORES PLUS LOUISVILLE (54-hole totals): 1. Georgia – 285-284-289; 2. Arizona – 285-282-297; 3. UCLA – 289-279-297; 4. Furman – 288-286-299; 5. Miami – 290-288-299; 6. Texas – 293-284-302; 11. Louisville – 296-290-299