Johnson finishes strong, just misses<br> NCAA cut

Badger senior surges into top 10 at Central Regional, sets school season and career scoring records

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Wisconsin senior golfer Malinda Johnson surged up the leaderboard at the NCAA Central Regional Saturday, but concluded her illustrious career just outside of qualifying for the NCAA Championship.


Johnson shot an even-par 71 in Saturday's final round at the Illinois State University course in Normal, Ill., for a three-day total 227 (79-77-71), finishing tied for 10th place overall. She was in 53rd place after Thursday's first round and 38th place after Friday's second round.


The top eight teams and top two additional individuals at the regional qualified for the championship, May 18-21 in Auburn, Ala. Johnson, the lone Wisconsin golfer at the event, finished third among individuals not advancing with a team. Southern Methodist freshman Laura Cross and Illinois State sophomore Samantha Richdale each shot 222 overall, tying for sixth place. Their teams finished tied for ninth.


Johnson finished shy of her second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championship, but did set two major school records Saturday. She wrapped up her 2003-04 season with a 74.33 18-hole scoring average, breaking the school record 75.94 she set last season. She also set Wisconsin's career scoring record, with an average 76.19.


Arizona sophomore Erica Blasberg won the Central Regional's individual medal with a one-under 212.


Vanderbilt won the team title a three-round 893. Big Ten schools Michigan State (906) and Purdue (917) were among the eight schools qualifying for the NCAA Championship at the Central Regional. Another conference school, Ohio State, advanced from the West Regional.

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