Ole Miss overwhelms Oklahoma State to claim NCAA title


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Kennedy Swann and Andrea Lignell completed perfect weeks as Ole Miss overwhelmed Oklahoma State 4-1 to win the NCAA Women’s Championship on Wednesday, the Rebels’ first national title in women’s sports.

Chiarra Tamburlini set the tone at Grayhawk Golf Club with a 6-and-5 victory, the largest margin in the final round since the NCAA switched to match play in 2015.

The key was Swann and Lignell, in the leadoff matches, where they delivered their best golf against Oklahoma State’s best two players.

Swann won three straight holes to take a 3-up lead to the back nine against Maja Stark, the highest-ranked player in the final at No. 7 in the women’s world amateur ranking.

Stark holed a long birdie putt on the 11 and pulled within 1 down. She drove the reachable par-4 17th to just left of the green, while Swann’s iron off tee didn’t quite clear the rough. No matter. Swann hit a wedge that rolled out to a foot for a conceded birdie, and Stark missed her 6-foot birdie putt to extend the match.

Behind her, Lignell rallied from an early deficit to take her first lead on the 13th hole over Isabella Fierro, who had not trailed all week. Lignell then had Fierro putt from 2 feet on the next hole, and Fierro missed to fall 2 down.

Lignell holed the winning putt from 6 feet for par on the 17th hole for a 2-and-1 victory, and the celebration was on.

Swann and Lignell won all three of their matches against Texas in the quarterfinals, Arizona in the semifinals and the Cowgirls in the championship round.

Oklahoma State also was trying to win its first national title in women’s golf. The men’s program has 11 NCAA titles.

Julia Johnson rallied to take control of her match in a 4-and-3 win over Rita Tatematsu. Oklahoma State’s only victory came from Maddison Hinson-Tolchard, 4 and 3 over Smilla Sonderby.

By then, the outcome had been decided. Sonderby did her work in the quarterfinals by winning in 21 holes in the anchor match for Ole Miss to get by Texas. She was jogging down a dirt cart path when it was over, in a rush to celebrate with her team.

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