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HOUSTON, Texas - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's golf team moved up from fourth place to third after the third round of the NCAA Division III Championships on Thursday, and will look to catch first-place Williams in the final round tomorrow at Bay Oaks Country Club.
For the second straight day, CMS recorded the second-lowest score in the field, shooting a 308 to move its three-day total to 926 (315-303-308). However, the top score of the day went to Williams, which shot an even 300 to move alone into first place, 11 shots ahead of CMS and eight ahead of NYU in second place (923). Methodist (934) is eight shots behind the Athenas in fourth place, 19 shots behind Williams, which means that barring a hot start from Methodist or DePauw (935), the final three groups (Williams, NYU, CMS) will battle it out amongst themselves on the final day to determine the national champion.
CMS and Williams are familiar foes on this stage, tying after 72 holes last year before the Athenas won their first-ever national title in a two-hole playoff. If CMS is to repeat, it will need to come from behind year, after leading after all four rounds in the NCAA Championships a year ago, including by four over Williams heading into the final round.
The Athenas have been strong closers this spring, though, including winning by 19 at the SCIAC Championship on April 20, when they entered the final round in second place, and leaping from fourth to first on the final day of the Redlands Bulldog Classic. CMS also set a school record with a 291 on the final day of the second SCIAC regular season championship on April 7 to secure first place at that event.
In the early going of the third round on Thursday, CMS got as close as two shots from the lead behind the hot play of senior Kelly Ransom, who birdied four holes in a row from No. 2-5 to close the gap between the Athenas and the top three teams coming in (Williams, NYU, Methodist) before they even teed off. Ransom ended up with a 77 to tie for second on the team with sophomore Mira Yoo, behind junior Emma Kang, who finished with a 76. Freshman Amy Xue, meanwhile, earned two birdies on her last three holes to finish with a 78 to earn the fourth scoring card for the Athenas, while sophomore Emily Attiyeh also came in under 80 with a 79.
However, Williams was able to create some separation by managing to avoid the bad holes that tripped up the other team leaders. The Ephs did not have a single score worse than a bogey on any of the 90 holes their five-member team played, while NYU had six double-bogeys or worse, CMS had eight, and Methodist had 13.
On the individual leaderboard, CMS has four players in the top 20, led by Xue, who moved back into the top 10 with her strong finish and now stands in a tie for eighth place at +13, six shots off the lead held by Emily Salamy of Rhodes. Yoo is one shot behind Xue in a tie for 12th at +14, Kang is tied for 17th at +17 and Ransom is tied for 20th at +18.
CMS will tee off in the final grouping with NYU and Williams for the latest tee times on Friday, beginning at 9:10 a.m. with Attiyeh's group and concluding with Xue's at at 9:50.
CMS Women's Golf Moves Up to Third at NCAAs, Looks to Catch Williams in Tomorrow's Final Round
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