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NCAA Bound: Harbin Finishes Third at NCAA Regional

AUSTIN – St. Mary’s University women’s golfer Jessica Harbin fired a final round 74 to finish third overall at the NCAA Division II West Regional Golf Tournament, played at The Golf Club at Circle C Wednesday. With the performance she qualified as an individual for the 2007 NCAA Division II Women’s Golf Championships.

Harbin (Sr., Tuscola) tied for the lowest round of the day at two-under par, on the par 72, 6044-yard course. She started the day off rough, bogeying three of the first four holes of the day. But she rebounded with a birdie on the par-four sixth hole and after a bogey on the par four 10th, she bounced back again with a birdie on the par four 11th hole to move back to one-over par. That was where she stayed until the final hole of the day, the par four 18th. She took a bogey on that hole, putting her in a tie with Stephanie Bird of Northeastern State University.

Harbin was in the first group of the day and had to wait for over an hour for the rest of the field to come in. During that time she fell into fourth place momentarily, after Mari Suursalu of the University of Central Oklahoma had three birdies over a five-hole run at the end of the round. However she bogeyed the final hole of the day and fell into fourth place.

Despite shooting her worst round of the tournament Shraddhanjali Singh of Tarleton State University won the individual title by six strokes with a three-round total of 217 (70-72-75). Coming in second was the first individual to qualify for the NCAA Championships, Allison Kinser of St. Edward’s University. She finished with a seven-over par total of 223 (75-74-74). Harbin was just two strokes behind her with a 225 (77-74-74). Suursalu tied for fourth with a 227 (76-76-75). Bird was also in fourth with a 227 (75-76-76).

In the team competition Tarleton State University took top honors with a three-round total of 923 (307-308-308). Finishing second and earning the second team berth into the NCAA Championships was Northeastern State University with a three-round total of 927 (308-313-306). St. Edward’s was third with a 930 (311-313-306), Western Washington University was fourth with a 946 (313-309-324), Central Oklahoma was fifth with a 951 (319-307-325) and Western New Mexico University was sixth with a 953 (323-320-310).

Harbin will be just the second St. Mary’s University women’s golfer to advance to the NCAA Division II National Championships as an individual. Jillian Wyne qualified as an individual in 2002, finishing second at the West Regional, then placing 10th in the nation. Harbin’s third place finish is the third best for a Rattler women’s golf at the West Regional, behind only Wyne’s second in 2002 and first in 2003.

The NCAA Division II National Championship will be held on May 9-12 at the Stonebrook Golf Club in Pensacola, Fla. The championship will be hosted by the University of West Florida.