Madison (WQOW) -- Altoona native and Wisconsin senior golfer Gabby Curtis clinches a spot in the NCAA National Championships, after tying a Badgers 54-hole program record with a 209 at the Division I regional at University Ridge Golf Course.
Curtis started the regional with a career-best 67, Monday, to tie for the individual lead after one round. Tuesday, she slipped into a tie for seventh in the standings after shooting a 74 in the second round. With Wednesday's weather conditions necessitating a shotgun start for all golfers, Curtis starts on the back nine and birdies the 13th, 15th, 16th, and 1st holes, then closes her bogey-free round with seven straight pars.
The Badgers don't qualify for nationals as a team with their ninth-place finish, but Curtis advances as the top individual from a non-qualifying team, getting it done Wednesday in less than ideal conditions.
"The wind was okay on a lot of holes, it didn't really hurt as much as I thought it would.," Curtis said after the final round, "the greens were a lot more receptive today so that helped to just place the ball in the middle of the greens and make putts from there."
"Really proud of Gabby. and excited for her. and it will be just a great experience," said Wisconsin head coach Todd Oehrlein about Curtis qualifying for nationals, "she played fabulous, she played just really steady and in these conditions with what was at stake, I'm just excited and happy for her."
As happy as Curtis was about qualifying for nationals as an individual, she got a little emotional when talking about her Badgers teammates.
"I mean it definitely is special, I wish I had my teammates with me, that would be even better," Curtis said, "but it's definitely, this has been the best four years of my life. So I'm glad I could end here, we've played all together the whole year and I think it was really special having Lexi [Harkins] come in too for her last year, and I think we all got really close, and I'm really gonna miss them."
Curtis is the first Badgers women's golfer to qualify for the NCAA's as an individual since 2001. The NCAA Championships begin Friday, May 18th, in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
For the regional individual and team leaderboards, click here
(WKOW-TV and UW Badgers Athletics contributed to this report)