Johansson Begins NCAA Championships Run on Friday
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Freshman Isabelle Johansson, the first Kentucky women's golfer to qualify for the NCAA Championships as an individual since Heather Kraus in 1998, begins play in the national finals on Friday at the Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla.
Johansson will tee off on Friday at 12:55 p.m. in the second wave of the country's best golfers vying for the individual national championship.
"This week is about staying strong," Johansson said. "I'm going to have my mind set on fighting to the finish and have some fun."
Fighting to the finish two weeks ago, Johansson qualified for the NCAA Championships in thrilling fashion at the South Bend Regional. The Sala, Sweden native beat teammate Haley Mills and Kent State's Taylor Kim in a three-hole playoff, eliminating Mills when she got up and down for par with an iron shot that stuck just a few inches from the hole.
With the tap-in par, Mills clinched the final individual spot from the South Bend Regional and became the first Wildcat to qualify for the NCAA Championships as an individual since 1998.
The top six teams and three individuals from each of the four NCAA regionals qualified for this week's NCAA Championships. Kentucky just missed qualifying with a seventh-place finish -- the Wildcats' best finish at an NCAA regional under head coach Golda Johansson Borst -- in what would have the school's first appearance at the NCAA championships since 1992.
All told, 24 teams and 132 individuals will be in this week's NCAA Championships field.
"We are beyond excited to be in Bradenton this week," Borst said. "It's been a long road to get here and I couldn't be prouder of how hard Bella has fought to get here. I knew she had this level of golf in her and that it was a matter of time before she would be able to put it all together. She has prepared well, and at this point I think she just wants to get on the course and play."
Play will begin Friday under a new format for the NCAA Championships. All 24 teams and 12 individuals will compete in 54 holes of stroke play with 18 holes each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. After the first three rounds, the top 15 teams along with the top nine individuals not on an advancing team will advance for one additional day of stroke play on Monday to determine the top eight teams for match-play competition and the 72-hole stroke play individual champion.
The Golf Channel will provide live coverage of the final round of stroke play on Monday from 4 to 7 p.m.
Concession Golf Club, authored by Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin, will play host to this week's conclusion to the 2014-15 women's golf season. Playing at 6,468 yards and par 72, the course is designed to be the ultimate test for the nation's top collegiate golfers. Set among the breathtaking natural beauty of native stands of oak, magnolia and pine, the Concession golf course offers unique challenges on each of its 18 holes.
Johnansson will look to conquer the course after playing the best golf of her young collegiate career in South Bend, Ind. When the Wildcats needed her the most, Johansson fired her best 54-hole score of the year at the South Bend Regional, carding a 3-over-par 219 to finish in a tie for 10th place.
Consistency was the key to Johansson's NCAA Championships berth. She led the South Regional Field with 43 pars during the 54-hole tournament. Included in her career-best round was a 2-under-par opening round that put her in a tie for second place.
2015 NCAA Championships
Concession Golf Club
Par 72, 6,468 yards