STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Texas A&M's Katerina Ruzickova finished first and the No. 12 Aggie women's golf team tied for second after the final round of the NCAA East Regional at Penn State's Blue Course.
In second-place, A&M matched its best regional finish in program history and became one of eight teams from the east regional to advance to the NCAA Championship May 22-25 at the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn.
"I'm so happy for the girls," A&M head coach Trelle McCombs said. "I kept challenging them all week to stick to their process and routines. They rose to that challenge every day. There aren't enough words for how proud I am of each of them for stepping up. We had a full team effort this week."
Ruzickova posted A&M's lowest NCAA postseason score in program history with a 54-hole total of a 3-under 213 (67-73-73) for her second career win. From Ostrava, Czech Republic, the sophomore became the first Aggie to win an NCAA Regional.
"Kat's win was another notch on her belt," McCombs added. "I think she would admit that she hasn't played as well as she would have liked this semester, but she still believed in what she was doing. That's a sign of a true champion; one that doesn't abandon something just because it's not working for them immediately. She made some really clutch putts coming down the stretch. She was nervous but kept her composure throughout."
As a team, the Aggies saved their best round for last, carding a 286 which was the lowest NCAA Regional round in school history. A&M's 878 (296-296-286) also matched its lowest 54-hole regional score.
No. 24 South Carolina led from the get-go and finished first with a 9-over 873. Also advancing to nationals were Texas (878), No. 2 Alabama (879), No. 15 Florida (879), No. 5 Arizona State (887), No. 25 Michigan State (887) and No. 8 Duke (887).
Missing the cut was No. 18 Arizona (891), Campbell (893), No. 20 Oklahoma State (896), Tulane (903), Washington (904), UCF (907), Wake Forest (907), Kent State 9908), Maryland (914), Northwestern (916), Chattanooga (919), Augusta State (923), San Diego State (923), Jacksonville St. (927) Oral Roberts (952) and Long Island (978).
A&M sophomore Natalie Reeves matched the low round of the day with 69 to finish tied for 19th with 221 (76-76-69). Starting at hole 10, she scorched the first nine with five birdies and a bogey to turn 4-under. Three bogeys and two birdies on the back nine carded Reeves a 3-under score for the final round.
Freshman Patricia Garcia also saved her best round for the final day, turning in a 2-under 70. She improved with each round and had a 54-hole total of 222 (79-73-70) to tie for 29th.
Texas A&M earned its fourth NCAA Championship berth in the last five years and its 11th overall in program history.
The top two individuals that advanced to nationals from the east region were Kelsey Vines (Oklahoma State) and Margarita Ramos (Arizona).
All participants of the 2012 NCAA Championship will compete throughout the entire 72 holes of championship stroke play competition that begins Tuesday, May 22. For ticket information, call 615-322-4653 or visit www.ncaa.com/tickets.