Courtesy of Kent State Athletic Communications
ATHENS, Ga.—Kent State sophomore Jennifer Ha capped off a terrific season by carding a 5-over, 77 in the final round of the 2013 NCAA Championships on Friday at University of Georgia Golf Course. Ha finished in a five-way tie for 80th place with a score of 306 (79-70-80-77) in her first appearance at nationals.
"The experience of playing in the NCAA Championships was great," Ha said. "There's nothing like playing at nationals. I did not play as well as I wanted to and am a little disappointed. I will reflect on my rounds this week, and how I responded on different holes, to improve going forward and hopefully return in the future."
Windy condition caused final round scores to be higher across the board, and Ha leaped 10 spots up the leaderboard. Friday's 18 holes accounted for her second-best day of the four-round championships.
Starting on the 10th hole, Ha recorded a birdie and two bogies to sit at 1-over at the turn. This was her best score of the week on her first nine holes of the day, relative to par. After stumbling with bogies on the first two holes of the front nine, Ha made par on five of her final seven holes.
Ha concluded the championships with 12 birdies. She finished fifth among golfers playing as individuals, and ahead of 10 golfers in the top 100 of the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.
No. 1 Southern California captured the team title by 40 strokes. The Trojans were led by freshman Annie Park, who took the individual title by six strokes.
Just the second golfer in Kent State history to qualify for the NCAA Championships as an individual, Ha ends the season with a 76.1 stroke average. She finished first at the Mid-American Conference Tournament to claim medalist honors and was also named MAC Golfer of the Year.
The turning point in the season for Ha was a runner-up finish at the John Kirk/Panther Invitational in late March. She had a stroke average of 77.6 in her first seven events of the year, but dropped it to 73.9 over her final four events heading into the week. Ha finished first, second, third (tie), and eighth in those events.
"I was having a rough time early on and kind of needed a push in the right direction," said Ha. "Coach Wakeling was able to do that and it really made a difference. And Coach Page worked with me on my putting, so I am grateful to those two, as well as Coach Swaney. They really helped me get going in the right direction."