Women’s Golf Opens NCAA Championships on Friday

EUGENE, Ore. — The Oregon women’s golf team will compete at the NCAA Championships for the 13th time in program history beginning this Friday at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif., after booking their ticket with a second-place finish last week at the NCAA Auburn Regional.

The No. 12 ranked Ducks return to the biggest stage in college golf for the first time since finishing as the national runners-up in 2022, after falling short in the regional round last year. This is the third NCAA Championships appearance in the last fouryears for Oregon under head coach Derek Radley, and the Ducks head to Carlsbad with momentum after placing third at the Pac-12 Championships before surging to a runner-up finish in Auburn.

2024 NCAA Championships
Dates: Friday, May 17 – Wednesday, May 22
Course: Omni La Costa Resort & Spa
Par/Yardage: Par 72/6,330 yards
TV: Golf Channel (Monday – Wednesday)

How to Follow
Live scoring for the NCAA Championships will be available at Golfstat.com, and Golf Channel will broadcast the action beginning in the final round of stroke play on Monday, May 20. Live updates will be provided throughout the tournament on Twitter at @OregonWGolf.

The Field (30 Teams)
(1) Stanford, (2) Wake Forest, (3) South Carolina, (4) LSU, (5) UCLA, (6) Auburn, (7) USC, (8) Texas, (9) Duke, (10) Arkansas, (11) Northwestern, (12) Oregon, (13) Texas A&M, (14) Ole Miss, (15) Arizona State, (16) Clemson, (17) Florida State, (18) Vanderbilt, (19) Pepperdine, (20) Virginia, (21) Mississippi State, (22) SMU, (23) San Jose State, (24) North Carolina, (25) Michigan State, (26) Purdue, (27) Baylor, (28) Oklahoma State, (29) Oregon State, (30) Tulsa

Play will begin on Friday with the first of four rounds of stroke play. The field will be cut to 15 teams following Sunday’s third round, with the top eight teams after Monday’s final round advancing to match play. The match play quarterfinals and semifinals will be held Tuesday, with the championship match on Wednesday.

Teeing Off for the Ducks (Scoring Average)
1. Kiara Romero (70.81)
2. Ting-Hsuan Huang (75.05)
3. Karen Tsuru (72.89)
4. Ching-Tzu Chen (73.23)
5. Minori Nagano (72.96)

Numbers to Know
12 – Kiara Romero currently ranks fifth in UO single-season history with 104 birdies, just 12 away from the program record of 116.
13 – Oregon is making its 13th NCAA Championships appearance in program history, and first since finishing as national runners-up in 2022. 
21 – Kiara Romero has shot par-or-better in 21 of 27 rounds to open her collegiate career, including seven sub-70 rounds. 
345 – In her fifth and final season, Ching-Tzu Chen ranks third in program history with 345 career birdies. The all-time record is 377.

Stellar Final Round Sends Ducks to Carlsbad
After entering the final round of the NCAA Auburn Regional in fourth place and just two strokes above the cut line, the Ducks put together the best round of the week by any team with a 5-under 283 to move up to second and book their ticket to the NCAA Championships. At one point, the Ducks took the lead over host Auburn – which opened the day with an 18-stroke advantage over the Ducks – and UO ended the day a comfortable 14 strokes up on the cut. Freshman Ting-Hsuan Huang and fifth-year senior Ching-Tzu Chen led Oregon’s final-round charge with 2-under 70s, while freshmen Kiara Romero (71) and Karen Tsuru (72) joined them with par-or-better performances. 

Romero Taking Nation By Storm
Kiara Romero has been one of the most dominant players in the nation as a true freshman, entering the 2024 NCAA Championships as the No. 4 ranked player in the country and No. 24 ranked amateur in the world. The 11th all-Pac-12 first-team selection in program history, Romero leads Oregon with a stellar 70.81 scoring average, and has shot par-or-better in 21 of 27 rounds of stroke play with seven sub-70 performances. The San Jose native has two wins already this season, as well as five top-10 finishes and eight top-20 showings. Romero kicked off her collegiate career as the individual co-medalist at the Annika Intercollegiate, opening with a terrific 5-under 67 in her first round en route to an 8-under 208 for the week. Romero claimed her second individual win at the San Diego State Classic, shooting 69-70-68 to win medalist honors by four strokes with a 9-under 207,  tied for the fifth-best 54-hole performance in program history. The victory was fueled by a hole-in-one in the opening round, the first of Romero’s college career and astounding ninth in her lifetime on a 193-yard par 3. Romero leads Oregon this season with 104 total birdies, just 12 away from the program record of 116 held by Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Lu from 2022. 

Youth Movement
Kiara Romero has not been the only freshman sensation for the Ducks this season, as fellow rookies Ting-Hsuan Huang and Karen Tsuru have been key contributors and will join Romero in Oregon’s NCAA Championships lineup. Huang joined Oregon late in the fall and owns a 75.05 scoring average through 21 rounds, though she may be hitting her stride at the perfect time after tying for 10th overall at 2-over par last week at the NCAA Auburn Regional. Huang also shined for Oregon in match play at the Therese Hession Regional Challenge to open the spring, going 3-0 in her matches. Tsuru didn’t make her collegiate debut until the regular-season finale at the Silverado Showdown, but a solid performance as an individual has secured her a spot in the UO lineup in the postseason. A native of Carlsbad, Tsuru will head home for the NCAA Championships after tying for 11th overall at the Pac-12 Championships (71-72-71) and 16th overall at the NCAA Auburn Regional (76-74-72). 

Chen Climbing Up All-Time Birdie List
Fifth-year senior Ching-Tzu Chen enters the NCAA Championships with 345 career birdies, third-most in program history and just nine back of Caroline Inglis (354, 2013-16). Chen is unlikely to catch Cassy Isagawa (377, 2012-15) for the all-time record, but she has a great chance to become the third Duck ever to reach 350 career birdies and possible pass Inglis for the No. 2 spot in program history. Chen is an all-Pac-12 honorable mention selection in her final season, heading to Carlsbad with a 73.23 scoring average and a pair of top-five finishes at the Windy City Classic (T-4th) and the Stanford Intercollegiate (T-3rd). Chen finished 12th overall at the NCAA Auburn Regional at 4-over par, fueled by a 2-under 70 in the final round.

Nagano Putting Together Strong Senior Year
Senior Minori Nagano joined Ching-Tzu Chen as an all-Pac-12 honorable mention honoree this year, maintaining a strong 72.96 scoring average through 27 rounds. Nagano put together her best finish of the season at the PING/ASU Invitational this spring, tying for fourth overall with a 5-under 211 (69-71-71). Nagano has shot par-or-better 15 times this season, and she ranks second on the team with five top-20 finishes. While this will be the first career NCAA Championships appearance for Nagano, she brings plenty of postseason experience as a two-time NJCAA individual national champion while at Seminole State College.