Richdale Poised for Victory at NCAA Regional
Samantha Richdale shot a 76 on Friday.
Samantha Richdale shot a 76 on Friday.

May 12, 2006

Bryan, Texas - Despite losing three strokes to par in the final two holes of Friday's middle round of the 2006 NCAA Central Regional Golf Championships, Illinois State's Samantha Richdale was still in perfect position to be one of the two individuals to advance to the NCAA Finals--a dream-come-true for some college golfers. But that wouldn't be enough for Richdale.

"I want to win the tournament," said Richdale, after finishing the day in fourth place, just two strokes back of tourney co-leaders Amanda Blumenhorst of Duke and Irene Cho of Southern California. Duke's Elizabeth Janangelo is one stroke behind the leaders and in third place. The Blue Devils have a three-stroke lead over USC in the team standings. Eight of the 21 teams advance to the finals.

After 34 holes, Richdale was on top of her game and the standings as well. But a trip to a sand trap left the Kelowna, B.C. native with a six on the par four 362-yard 17th hole. She bogied 18 to finish with a 76 for the day, and has a three-over-par 147 for the tournament. Richdale's consistency kept her at, or below, par for the first 34 holes of the tournament those final two holes on the 6,289-yard Traditions Golf Club in Bryan, Texas.

Richdale is matching stokes with some of the nation's best college golfers. Blumenhorst is No. 1 in the nation, Cho is No. 4 and Janangelo is No. 9 in the Golfstat Cup national ratings, which listed Richdale at No. 35 in the nation. Redbird assistant coach Pina Gentile, who is with Richdale at the tournament,

"When you spend 18 holes with Sam, you can really appreciate what she's like," said Gentile. "(The first round), she seemed to have the momentum. Today, the pin placements were tougher and she had a couple of shots roll the wrong way. It was a struggle, but she battled through it."

Gentile believes Richdale, a three-time State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament medalist, can win the tournament.

"Never count her out because, even though you have to play the bounces the course gives you, she is always completely composed," said Gentile.

She tees off at 7:30 a.m., Saturday for the final 18 holes.

"It's good that Sam starts early," said Gentile. "She likes the early start and generally plays better in the morning."

Richdale has her own plan for victory.

"Play one shot at a time and stay in the present," said Richdale.