NCAA Women's Golf Championships 2018: Winner, Leaderboard Standings

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 24, 2018

Arizona's Yu-Sang Hou watches her shot from the first tee during the final round of the NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championships in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, May 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

For the first time since 2000, the Arizona Wildcats women's golf team won the national championship after claiming a 3-2 advantage over Alabama in a thrilling showdown that ended in a playoff. 

Alabama senior Lakareber Abe forced the playoff by winning No. 18. She went for the green in two shots, found it and squared the match against Haley Moore with a two-putt.

Moore got redemption on the first playoff hole with a birdie, securing the win and title for the Wildcats. 

Here are the results from all five head-to-head matchups:

Yu-Sang Hou (Arizona) def. Lauren Stephenson (Alabama), 4 & 3

Kristen Gillman (Alabama) def. Gigi Stoll (Arizona), 4 & 3

Cheyenne Knight (Alabama) def. Bianca Pagdanganan (Arizona), 4 & 2

Sandra Nordaas (Arizona) def. Angelica Moresco (Alabama), 1 Up

Lakareber Abe (Alabama) vs. Haley Moore (Arizona), 1 Up (19 Holes)

    

Yu-Sang Hou secured Arizona's first point of the championship match thanks to a four-hole run on the back nine. She was all square with Lauren Stephenson after nine holes, putting pressure on Alabama's top player heading into the last half of the match. 

Playing on this stage as a freshman, Hou had no problem rising to the occasion. She won holes 10 through 13 to put the match away, with the final two holes turning into a victory lap for the Taiwanese sensation. 

Per Golf Week's Beth Ann Nichols, despite entering the match as an underdog, Hou has been one of the best players in the country in her first year with the Wildcats:

Alabama immediately got its point back with a 4 and 3 win by Kristen Gillman over Gigi Stoll. The sophomore has been impressive throughout this tournament, as noted by Justin Ray of the Golf Channel:

Stoll fell behind on the first hole and was never able to get back in the match. After maintaining her one-hole lead for four holes, Gillman pulled away by winning No. 5 and 7 to make the turn at three up. 

The Crimson Tide were able to take a 2-1 lead in the match thanks to Cheyenne Knight's win over Bianca Pagdanganan. 

Like Gillman, Knight went a perfect 3-0 in three matches during the tournament. The Texas native didn't had more drama in her matchup with Pagdanganan, who was one up after nine holes. She was three up by the time they got to No. 14. 

The 16th hole proved to be the end for Pagdanganan. Arizona's hero from earlier in the week took a seven. Knight made par to take the point for Alabama. 

Angelica Moresco missed an opportunity to at least force a tie for Alabama. She had two putts to win No. 16, which would have cut her deficit against Sandra Nordaas to one. The Italian freshman hit her first putt well beyond the hole, leaving her unable to connect on the second attempt. 

Moresco did come back to win No. 17, cutting the gap to one, but Nordaas bounced back on the final hole to secure a much-needed point for Arizona. 

That set the stage for Moore, who is Arizona's top player and the No. 22 women's amateur player in the world, to end the school's 18-year championship drought.  

The Wildcats had to overcome adversity and history to reach this point. They won a tiebreak against Baylor to get in the team bracket, upset top-ranked UCLA in the quarterfinals thanks to Pagdanganan's birdie on No. 18 and knocked off Stanford in the semifinal. 

Arizona became the first No. 8 seed to make it past the quarterfinals since the NCAA switched the championship format to match play in 2014. It was able to finish the job in dramatic fashion against No. 2 Alabama. 

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