University of Minnesota sophomore Isabella McCauley (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) punched her ticket to the NCAA Championship today with a runner-up finish at the Auburn University Club in Auburn, Ala. McCauley is the first Golden Gopher to make it to back-to-back NCAA Championships since Kate Hughes in 1987 and 1988.

The Minnesota native shot a stellar final round, making a significant jump from Tuesday’s 18th-place spot to surge up the leaderboard on the final day. She posted an impressive bogey-free third round, shooting seven-under-par (65). This is the second consecutive tournament that McCauley has come from behind on the final day of competition, as she shot a bogey-free 64 (-8) to leap up the leaderboard and win the Big Ten Championship just two weeks ago.

“I am so grateful to qualify for Nationals back-to-back years,” said McCauley. “It is always an honor to wear the Maroon and Gold, and I can’t wait to do it again next week.”

McCauley tallied seven birdies and 11 pars to move up 16 spaces and finish tied for second place today. She tied for second most birdies (12) out of 66 competitors throughout the tournament and ended the event at two-under-par (77-72-65–214).

The sophomore standout’s third round 65 (-7) is the lowest 18-hole score by an individual at the Auburn University Club in its current format for tournament play. It becomes the fourth lowest 18-hole score in school history.

“It was just an absolutely incredible day,” said head coach Rhyll Brinsmead. “To shoot 65 on this golf course to qualify for nationals is one of the most amazing feats I have ever seen.”

This will be McCauley’s second bid to the NCAA National Championship. She qualified during her freshman campaign after finishing sixth at the NCAA Westfield Regional a year ago (74-67-68-209). She finished tied for 78th at the NCAA Championship last year.

The top five teams advancing to the national championship alongside McCauley were Auburn, Oregon, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tulsa.

Up Next:
Isabella McCauley will compete in the national championship from May 17-22 at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif.

(info and stock photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)

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