EUGENE, Ore. (AP) Sarah Rhee had nothing to lose and wound up with an unlikely victory Tuesday that sent Washington to the final of the NCAA women's golf championship against defending champion Stanford.
Washington trailed in three matches against UCLA, and Rhee was 3 down with three holes remaining against Louise Ridderstrom. The 18-year-old freshman birdied the next two holes, won the 18th hole with a par, and then holed a long bunker shot that slammed against the pin and dropped into the cup.
Rhee kept her composure and turned to rake the sand as her teammates screamed on the side of the green. Ridderstrom missed her birdie putt from just off the green to extend the match, and the Huskies were on their way to a shot at their first NCAA golf title.
''I was just trying to get it close and put pressure on her,'' Rhee said. ''Sometimes they go in. That was perfect timing right there.''
Mariah Stackhouse, who won the playoff match that gave Stanford the NCAA title a year ago, won the decisive match to get past South Carolina in the quarterfinals, and she set the pace in the semifinal victory over Duke.
Stanford will be trying to win back-to-back for the first time since Duke won three straight in 2005-07 during the stroke-play era.
Washington, with three freshmen, defeated Virginia in the quarterfinal, while top seed UCLA did not lose a match in eliminating Oregon. The Bruins never had control in the semifinal, though they took slim leads in three matches late in the round at Eugene Country Club.
Julianne Alvarez holed a 6-foot par putt on the 18th hole to beat Bethany Wu. Moments later, Wenyung Keh closed out UCLA's Hadas Libman on the 17th hole. And as Rhee capped off her comeback to force extra holes, Ying Luo rallied to square her match with Lilia Vu. Both were short of the green when Luo heard the cheers from Rhee's shot and the celebration was on.
Virginia Elena Carta, who won the individual title on Monday, won her match as Duke defeated USC in the quarterfinals. Carta won another match in the afternoon, though the Blue Devils were no match for the defending champion.
Stanford was mildly threatened in the morning, the score at 2-2 with Stackhouse holding a 1-up lead playing the 18th against Marion Veysseyre of South Carolina. Stackhouse ended the drama with an approach to 2 feet that was conceded when Veysseyre couldn't make birdie.