NCAA Women's Golf Championships 2017: Stanford, USC Hold Early Leads

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 24, 2017

Sep 22, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; General view of golf balls in buckets prior to the 2016 Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA women's golf tournament semifinals were suspended Tuesday as a result of darkness at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois.

Three of the 10 semifinal matches have concluded, and the Stanford Cardinal are up 3-1-1 on the Arizona State Sun Devils, while the USC Trojans are leading the Northwestern Wildcats 4-1-0.

Women's team stroke play concluded Monday, with the top eight teams advancing to the quarterfinals, which teed off Tuesday. Below are the results from the quarterfinal round and where things stand in the semifinals.

Quarterfinal Results

  • Stanford (2) def. Baylor (7), 3-2
  • Arizona State (3) def. Florida (6), 5-0
  • Northwestern (1) def. Kent State (8), 3-2
  • USC (5) def. Ohio State (4), 3-2

Semifinal Scores

  • Stanford (2) leads Arizona State (3), 3-1-1
  • USC (5) leads Northwestern (1), 4-1-0

Weather was an issue throughout the day, beginning in the quarterfinals. Chilly and windy conditions were a problem for the golfers, and in the semifinals, the heavens opened up and forced a delay.

GolfChannel.com's Ryan Lavner and Golfweek's Beth Ann Nichols shared photos of the scene as rain showers hammered Rich Harvest Farms:

After a few hours, play resumed at around 7 p.m. CT. Golfers were then in a race against time to finish their rounds before the sun set in Sugar Grove.

Olivia Mehaffey gave Arizona State an early advantage, beating Andrea Lee 2 and 1. Stanford responded with two quick points as Shannon Aubert and Casey Danielson dispatched their opponents.

The Cardinal have one foot in the championship as Albane Valenzuela owns a 1-up lead on Monica Vaughn with both on the 18th fairway. Arizona State showed the pair approaching the final tee box:

With the break until the semifinals resume Wednesday, Vaughn has an opportunity to reset somewhat. She'll still have no margin for error, though, and the result of Madie Chou and Linnea Strom's match—with the two all square through 16 holes—may be inconsequential.

The Wildcats are staring at a big deficit in terms of the team score, but all of their semifinal matches with the Trojans remain up for grabs. And in three of the matches in which USC leads, Northwestern is only down one hole.

Through 15 holes, Sarah Cho has a 1-up edge on Victoria Morgan. She'll need her teammates to step up for Northwestern to advance.

The Wildcats' hopes will hinge most on Janet Mao and Stephanie Lau, who have six and seven holes remaining respectively. USC's Gabriella Then and Tiffany Chan hold 1-up leads in both matches, but Mao and Lau will have more than enough time Wednesday to possibly turn those deficits around.

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