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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC women's golf looks to NCAA regionals after solid play in ACC Championships

Streicher ACC Rd 1 (Mead) 04.JPG

UNC first-year Megan Streicher swings her golf club during the 2023 ACC Women's Golf Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina, on April 13, 2023.
Photo Courtesy of Andy Mead/YCJ.

For the North Carolina women’s golf team, this postseason will be a time of personal growth.

Whether it's focusing on the finer aspects of the game or playing on every course possible, head coach Aimee Neff said each player has a distinct preparation strategy entering the NCAA Regionals, which will begin May 8.

Seventy-two teams make NCAA Regionals each year, and those selections will be announced on Wednesday at 1 p.m. on the Golf Channel. The top five teams in each of the six regionals advance to the NCAA Championship. Yahoo! Sports' latest bracketology has North Carolina as a No. 9 seed in the Pullman Regional.

For Megan Streicher, a first-year out of Boland, South Africa, “keeping everything in check” will be her recipe for success. 

Heading into the postseason stretch, Streicher is coming off of a recent top-15 finish at the ACC Championship, where she tied for 12th place and finished just two strokes over par. 

“Building off that momentum going forward, I'm excited to see what happens,” Streicher said. 

Junior Crista Izuzquiza shares Streicher’s excitement for the postseason. In the ACC Championship, Izuzquiza added to her resume with two eagles to finish the third round six strokes under par, which tied a UNC single-round record set by Meaghan Francella and Allie White in 2004 and 2011, respectively.

One strategy that worked for Izuzquiza during the tournament was keeping focus on the task right in front of her. Looking forward, she said she thinks this will be a good strategy for when the competition heats up next month. 

“I just kept hitting shot by shot and just concentrating on the shot at hand,” Izuzquiza said. 

In addition to Streicher’s and Izuzquiza’s standout seasons, seniors Kayla Smith and Krista Junkkari have had their own fair share of victories.

In September, Smith finished nine under-par after the three-day Texas A&M “Mo”Morial Tournament. Junkkari also placed in the top five of the same tournament by shooting five under-par.

Junkkari followed up this success with another win the following week at The Ivy Intercollegiate, where she finished three strokes under-par. The Tar Heels traveled home with the first-place trophy with all players finishing among the top 50. 

North Carolina faced some challenges in the middle of the season, as no players finished among the top 10 in the Tar Heels' following four tournaments. However, that streak was broken on March 19 when Streicher finished ninth place in the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic at the University of Georgia.

As the team prepares for NCAA Regionals, Neff said she's emphasizing the importance of intentionality in everything that she and her players do. 

“(The main goal) is having a lot of purpose every day that we show up to do something,” Neff said. "I think it'll be a little bit more individualized at this point in time of the season.” 

Neff also said that gaining that experience from the ACC Tournament will help prepare her players for the upcoming postseason competitions. 

In addition to getting used to the atmosphere of competitive play, Neff said she is not focusing on specific areas of the game like high-speed swings or low handicaps. She has her eye on improving in whatever ways possible. 

With practice, focus and purpose, the North Carolina women’s golf team has the potential to finish out the season on a high note embracing a team effort.

“I still think the main thing is trying to get 20 days better before we leave,” Neff said.

Jarrett Kidd contributed reporting to this story.


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