Romero Dazzles, Ducks Finish Third at Pac-12 Championships

PULLMAN, Wash. — Freshman Kiara Romero made seven birdies and zero bogeys en route to an incredible 7-under 65 on Tuesday as the Oregon women’s golf team finished in third place at the 2024 Pac-12 Championships. 

The No. 16 Ducks capped a strong week at Palouse Ridge Golf Club with a 10-under 278 to place in the top three at the conference tournament for the third year in a row, finishing at 16-under par to tie for the sixth-best 54-hole score in program history. No. 1 Stanford won the conference title at 28-under par with No. 7 USC in second at 20-under par.

“I’m really proud of the way our team came out and competed this week and stayed composed over all three rounds,” head coach Derek Radley said. “They stuck to ourgame plan and did a great job of executing the way they know how. This was a great first step for us to get the postseason started and I’m excited to see where we get selected for NCAA Regionals.”

Romero’s 7-under 65 matched the third-lowest individual round in program history, and she finished third overall with a 9-under 207 for the week. Her 54-hole scoretied for fifth-best in program history, and she was announced after the tournament as a first-team all-Pac-12 selection. Romero was also announced on Tuesday as a member of Team USA for the 2024 Arnold Palmer Cup.

“Incredible day out there for Kiara today,” Radley said. “She was locked in from start to finish and was just steady as a rock all day long. She has had such an incredibleseason for us and to shoot 65 and finish third at the Pac-12 Championships as a true freshman is really, really impressive. She is so deserving of all of the accolades that have come her way and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season holds for her.”

Romero was one of three Ducks in the individual top 15, as senior Minori Nagano and freshman Karen Tsuru both tied for 11th overall at 2-under par for the week. Nagano was joined by fifth-year senior Ching-Tzu Chen as honorable mention all-Pac-12 selections, while Tsuru impressed mightily in just her second collegiate tournament after joining Oregon’s lineup for the regular-season finale earlier this month.

How it Happened: Romero caught fire after opening with four pars, making five birdies in a six-hole stretch from holes 5-10 to get to 5-under par. She stayed clean with six straight pars before going into back-to-back par-5s at holes 17-18, and she capped off the best round of her young career with two more birdies.

Romero’s 7-under 65 tied for the best round of the day, matching Stanford’s Kelly Xu who finished second overall at 10-under par. USC’s Catherine Park won the individual title at 15-under par.

Tsuru capped her impressive week with a 1-under 71, finishing par-or-better in all three rounds. She was 2-over par through 15 holes before making a birdie at No. 16, and she followed with an eagle at the par-5 17th to get back under par. 

“I couldn’t be more proud of what Karen accomplished this week, especially in just her second tournament as a Duck,” Radley said. “It’s not easy to shoot under par in an environment like this and to do so after joining our lineup just this month is so impressive. She provided us with such a boost and we wouldn’t have had the week we did without her contributions.”

Nagano finished the week with a 2-under 70, her second strong round in a row after posting a 3-under 69 on Monday. She was even par after a bogey at No. 12, but matched Romero with birdies on 17 and 18. As a team, the Ducks shot a combined 6-under par on the par-5 17th.

Freshman Ting-Hsuan Huang rounded out the counting scores with an even-par 72, following a 3-under 69 of her own on Monday.

Ducks on the Leaderboard:

3. Oregon – 293-277-278 – 848 (-16)

3. Kiara Romero – 72-70-65 – 207 (-9)

T11. Karen Tsuru – 71-72-71 – 214 (-2)

T11. Minori Nagano – 75-69-70 – 214 (-2)

T26. Ching-Tzu Chen – 75-69-74 – 218 (+2)

T32. Ting-Hsuan Huang – 79-69-72 – 220 (+4)

Notable: Oregon was the top team in the field on par-5 holes at 26-under par, and also led the field with 174 total pars … Chen made two birdies to take sole possession of fourth place in program history with 340 in her career.

Up Next: Selections for 2024 NCAA Women’s Golf Regionals will be announced on Wednesday at 11 a.m. PT on Golf Channel.