NCAA Championship Winners

It had been 70 years since an LSU golfer won an individual NCAA national championship. Now in a 13-day period, two LSU golfers won NCAA championships.

One was a freshman in women's golfer, Austin Ernst, just starting her career, while the other was a senior finishing his outstanding career, John Peterson.
Plus this magic season of LSU golf saw the LSU women's golf team post their highest ever finish in an NCAA Championship, taking third, just eight shots off the lead of winner UCLA.  Both Ernst and Peterson had special moments in their runs to the championship with Ernst shooting two rounds of 66 at the Traditions Course in Bryan, Texas, while Peterson setting the competitive course record of 65 on the Karsten Creek Course in Stillwater, Okla.

Here's a quick recap on how both wrapped up their championships:

BRYAN, Texas -- Freshman Austin Ernst became the first LSU women's golfer in the 32-year history of the program to win the NCAA Division I National Championship, firing a final round of 6-under 66 to win the championship by three shots at The Traditions Club.

Ernst, from Seneca, S.C., becomes the first freshman to win the women's national championship since Jennifer Rosales of USC in 1998.
The effect of two triple bogeys and having your chief opponent at the time take the lead from you with a hole-in-one in the third round, could have been demoralizing but Ernst took it all in stride and came right back on the second hole of the day with a hole-in-one of her own. A 60-foot birdie on the next hole put her in the lead to stay as third-round leader Tiffany Lua of UCLA began to stumble toward a 75.

Ernst, showing maturity beyond her freshman status, won by three shots over Arkansas' Kelli Shean. Ernst posted rounds of 72-66-77-66 for a 72-hole score of seven-under 281, the lowest score ever shot for 72 holes by an LSU women's golfer, edging the 283 shot a year ago by Megan McChrystal.
Ernst played the par 3s in two-under, the par fours in two-under and the par fives in three-under. She tied with runnerup Shean with 19 birdies and her hole-in-one was one of an amazing five over the last two rounds of the event.

Ernst, who is featured in the June 6 Sports Illustrated "Faces in the Crowd" matched McChrystal's feat of the year before by finishing in the top 10 in all three post-season tournaments finishing ninth in the SEC Championship, third in the NCAA Regional event and first in the national championships.

Both Ernst and McChrystal were named first-team All-Americans by the National Golf Cocaches Association. McChrystal, from Stuart, Fla., concluded her record breaking career at LSU in helping LSU to its third place finish in the championships. She holds the season and career stroke average record for the women's program and won five championships in her stellar career.   Also on the team that earned the third place honor were senior Amalie Valle and juniors Jacqueline Hedwall and Tessa Teachman.

STILLWATER, Okla. - Senior All-American John Peterson wrapped up a heralded collegiate career with a national championship after firing a 54-hole score of 5-under par 211 at Karsten Creek Golf Club. Peterson (74-65-72 -- 211) followed a competitive course record of 7-under 65 in Wednesday's second round with his even-par 72 on Thursday en route to a dramatic one-shot victory over UCLA freshman Patrick Cantlay.

It also marked the second year in a row in which Peterson finished with a score of 5-under par at the NCAA Championships as he tied for sixth place with a total of 211 in his championship debut at The Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tenn., to cap his junior season in 2010.

The LSU golf program made history with Peterson's victory Thursday as it became the first school during the history of the NCAA Championships sweeping the men's and women's individual crowns in the same season. Lady Tiger freshman Austin Ernst took home the NCAA women's crown nearly two weeks ago at the event hosted by Texas A&M at The Traditions Golf Club in College Station.

After wrapping up his round at approximately 1:30 p.m. CDT with a one-shot lead over Georgia Tech star James White and a two-shot advantage over the contending trio of Cantlay, Harris English of Georgia and Luke Guthrie of Illinois, Peterson endured many anxious moments in the clubhouse, while watching those contenders try to match his number in the afternoon round at Karsten Creek.

Cantlay, who birdied the par-four 17th hole to draw to within two shots of Peterson's lead, fired a 4-iron to within 16 feet of the flag on the 18th green to give himself as left-to-right putt back up the hill for his eagle attempt. The UCLA freshman burned the right side of the cup before holing out with a birdie and ending a single stroke behind Peterson on the leaderboard with a score of 4-under 212 for three rounds.

As the only championship contender on the course in the morning round, Peterson then found himself in a tie for 10th place as he headed to the back nine with a score of 1-under for the championship. But as he had done throughout his collegiate career, Peterson stormed back to retake the lead thanks to his near perfect back nine in which he carded four birdies with no bogeys for a 4-under par 32. After crawling back to 3-under par with birdies at the par-three 11th hole and par-five 14th hole, Peterson went out in style in his final round as an LSU Tiger with back-to-back birdies at the par-four 17th and par-five 18th holes.

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"It still hasn't hit me that I won or the magnitude of it and what it means"
- LSU Golfer Austin Ernst

"This is an unbelievable feeling. I can’t really describe it. It hasn’t sunk in for me yet I’m probably most excited about getting to walk out to the 50-yard line in Tiger Stadium one night next year at a football game."
 - LSU Golfer John Peterson