A year after challenging for a national title, Oregon’s Women’s Golf team’s season ended one stop short of a chance to do it again. Competing as the #2 Seed in the Westfield (Indiana) Regional, the Ducks never caught fire, finishing 10th overall and missing out on an NCAA Tournament bid. To head to Scottsdale for the Finals, Oregon needed a top-5 finish in Westfield.
On Day One, Senior Briana Chacon led the Ducks with the team’s only under-par round - she finished at one-under 71. She was followed closely by some quality golf from Juniors Cynthia Lu and Ashleigh Park, who scored matching one-over 73s. Freshman Anika Varma and Junior Minori Nagano provided Oregon’s final two counting scores of the day and were a bit off the pace shooting 5-over 77s. As a team, Oregon shot a 6-over 294 in the first round, good for just 10th place of the 12 teams competing, and 8 strokes off the pace needed to gain the 5th place finish that would send them to the NCAA Finals. Tulsa shot a blistering 9-under 279 for the first-round lead.
On Day Two, Oregon continued to struggle on the tough The Club at Chatham course. Chacon again led the Ducks scoring, carding another one-under-par 71 and Lu improved to an even-par 72. Nagano and Varma each also improved their Monday scores by 3 strokes, shooting 2-over 74s, but Park ballooned to an 8-over-par score of 80 and the Ducks finished the day still sitting in 10th place overall at 9-over 585. Mississippi State led after Day Two with a 21-under-par score of 555.
Trailing a qualifying score by about 11 strokes, Oregon needed a massive final-round rally to reach the NCAA Finals, but it was not to be. Despite shooting their best round of the Regional, Oregon remained in 10th place overall at 9-over-par. The Ducks rallied behind an unreal 6-under-par 66 from Lu and Chacon’s third-straight one-under 71. Nagano and Park came in at 76 and 75 respectively and Oregon’s remaining players did not need to finish as the Ducks were eliminated.
Lu’s final day howitzer put her into the lead among Duck golfers in the Regional with a 5-under 211 - she improved her scoring each day. Chacon was a marvel of consistency and finished at 3-under.
The Ducks went into the Regional as the #8-ranked team in the country but didn’t have the post-season success in either the Pac-12 Tournament or this Regional they enjoyed in 2022. Oregon has 3 Seniors on this year’s roster (Chacon, Ching-Tzu Chen and Brittany Shin), although with the “free” Covid year that doesn’t mean what it used to. The foundation of the team remains in place and Oregon can probably look forward to challenging for a Pac-12 crown and trip to the NCAA’s in 2024.