Phil Poupore, AJGA Communications
No. 3 seed Arizona State University defeated top-seeded Northwestern University to win the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship with two former AJGA alumni locking up victories in the final.
Linnea Strom, the 2013 Polo Golf Junior Classic champion, clinched the match for the Sun Devils. The sophomore defeated fellow AJGA alumna Stephanie Lau 5&3 to give the Arizona State women’s team its eighth NCAA Team Championship.
Strom’s match play experience extends back into her junior career. Strom competed for Team Europe in the 2013 PING Junior Solheim Cup and later won five consecutive matches en route to her victory at the Polo Golf Junior Classic.
Fellow AJGA alumna Roberta Liti, a participant of the 2013 Thunderbird International Junior, gave Arizona State a pivotal point early in the day with a 5&4 victory over Janet Mao. The Sun Devils added a second match play victory from Olivia Mehaffey, who won 4&3 over Sarah Cho.
Strom finished in the top 10 in six of her seven career AJGA events, including a T6 at her final event, the 2014 Thunderbird International Junior. The 2017 Thunderbird International Junior begins on May 26.
Of the 20 players in the semifinals, 17 were AJGA alumni.
Both Northwestern and No. 2 seed Stanford University boasted teams entirely made up of AJGA alumni.
Northwestern was led by Lau and Cho, who own two career AJGA victories apiece. Lau won the 2014 PING Heather Farr Classic and the 2013 AJGA Junior at Ruby Hill. Cho claimed victory twice in 2011 at the Preseason Junior at Cypress Ridge and the Junior All-Star at Robinson Ranch. Both players were Rolex Junior All-Americans.
Andrea Lee, the 2014 Rolex Junior Player of the Year, played an integral part in Stanford’s run to this year’s semifinals. The 18-year-old owns two career AJGA victories, the Rolex Tournament of Champions and the Swinging Skirts AJGA Invitational, both in 2014.