3 questions entering Day 3 of Women's regionals
*__1. Is North Carolina turning itself into a sleeper NCAA Championship pick?
The Tar Heels victory at the ACC Championship wasn't a complete shock, but after having finishing inside the top 10 only three times since winning the season opening Cougar Classic, their inconsistent play didn't suggest they're be making a postseason run. Still Jan Mann's squad is only four strokes back of East Regional leader Alabama at LPGA International, making a run reminiscent of Arizona's a year ago and giving reason to believe that they just might have collectively gotten their act together
Only Lindy Duncan, with an even-par 72, managed to break 80 in the second round at Warren GC as the Blue Devils shot a collective 26-over 314, the highest score in any single round at regionals since 1997. With that the Blue Devils, the No. 2 seed in the regional, are T-13, six strokes back of eighth-place Arkansas and in jeopardy of failing to advance to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 1997 as well.
"We are in a hole--we have to get out and believe in ourselves," said coach Dan Brooks. "That is going to be the big deal is that they believe we are a team that belongs at nationals and all we have to do is stay patient and play, then we will get there. If they get down then we are in trouble."
With the Traditions Club hosting nationals, the Aggies have arguably as much incentive as any school to advance out of regionals. Sitting T-8, on the proverbial bubble, at Washington National GC, the final round is going to be an interest mental test.
"I feel like we're a pretty resilient team, and they know the task at hand," said coach Trelle McCombs, whose squad shot a 14-over 302 during the second round. "We tried to force things today. We weren't patient, so we will focus on staying patient on Saturday and let the birdies happen."
__Bonus question: How many of the Midwest school seeded outside the top eight at the Central Regional will hang on and earn spots to nationals?
Minnesota, the 14th seed, is T-2 entering the final 18 holes at Warren GC, a spot few likely predicted. The Golden Gophers aren't the only team from the area that seems to be over achieving. Ohio State (10), Northwestern (13) and Notre Dame (9) are also inside the top eight with one round remaining. I think many figured there might be one or two from among the bunch that would play beyond their regular-season showing, but should all four make it through it would a true surprise.