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Erin Harper advances to NCAA Championships



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Then-sophomore, now-junior Erin Harper putts during the first round of the IU Invitational on April 8, 2017, at the IU Golf Course. Harper finished the 2018 Mary Fossum Invitational tied for sixth place.  Josh Eastern Buy Photos

Junior golfer Erin Harper said she felt like she was back in her junior golf days after competing as an individual at an NCAA Regional this week in Madison, Wisconsin.

On April 25, the IU women's golf team was not selected to advance to an NCAA Regional. However, Harper’s season would continue solo.

“It was weird for the first time, but it also reminded me of my junior golf days where it’s just you versus the world,” Harper said. “It was a flashback to the past.”

The new environment didn't affect Harper’s play on the University Ridge Golf Course, as she placed first among individuals and advanced to the NCAA Championships in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Harper scored a 2-under, 70, and a 4-under, 68, in her first two rounds to put herself in a position to win.

She struggled in her final round, as she battled rain and wind, but a third round score of 3-over, 75, was enough to put her at tied for seventh overall.

“Today I let nerves get the best of me instead of following my routine from the past two days,” Harper said. “Nerves always play a big part on how you handle your rounds. Even though I knew I was nervous, I was able to make clutch putts and ultimately play OK.”

Harper will be the first IU golfer at the NCAA Championships since 1989.

“I didn’t even know that. It’s weird to think about,” Harper said.

Aside from earning co-medalist honors at the Fresno State Classic in early March, this is Harper’s best finish at a tournament this season.

The celebration will not last long, however, as she gets ready for her season to continue at the NCAA Championship May 18-23.

“Right now it’s shock, because I didn’t play great so it was a very stressful round. It’s almost like a sigh of relief,” Harper said. “It’s a great feeling now, but I’ll start practicing tomorrow to start preparing for everything.”

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