March 1, 2010

 

By Michael Rosengart
Special to NCAA.com

No. 17 George Fox Runs Away With Pacific Invitational

Junior Mandy Cameron and George Fox (320-325, 645) dominated the tournament, beating host and second-place finisher Pacific (352-353, 705) by a whopping 60 strokes to pace the field at Quail Valley Golf Club this weekend. UC-Santa Cruz (351-365, 716), the only team besides GFU to receive votes in the opening polls of the spring season, finished third. The win moved the Bruins up one spot in the rankings to No. 17.

Cameron had the low score both days with a 77 on Saturday and a 79 on Sunday to finish with a 156, and her teammates backed her up to secure the victory. Junior Brianna Nap and senior Sarah Askin each recorded a 162 to tie for third, and freshman Kelsey Morrison was right behind them with a 166 to tie UCSC senior Halley Sutton for fifth.

Linfield College (378-357, 735), who finished fifth, and Willamette University (426-454, 880), who rounded out the field in seventh, also competed from D-III.

McMurry Leads D-III Schools In Cold-Condensed Tournament

The threat of cold temperatures forced golfers to play 36 holes in just one day at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Lady Cru Spring Invitational last week at Mill Creek Golf Club in Salado, Tex. Junior colleges Western Texas Community College (327-327, 654) and Redlands Community College (337-333, 670) dominated the tournament, finishing first and second, but it was McMurry (380-354, 734) who emerged on top of the five Division III schools competing.

After the Indians recorded a combined 380 on the first 18, juniors Libby Scarlett and Monica Harris set the pace for the team with an 84 and a team-low 81 respectively the second time around. McMurry finished fourth overall in the tournament.

Host UMHB (374-364, 738) slid in at fifth, just four strokes behind McMurry. Senior Courtney Nelson carded an 88 in her second 18 for the single-round team low, but suffered from a first-round 97. Junior Christi Williams was more consistent for the Lady Cru with her pair of 89s for a total of 178; she finished third-best among Division III golfers behind Scarlett and Harris.

Although McMurry and Mary Hardin-Baylor were the only two teams to receive votes in the NGCA Coaches Poll of the spring, also competing from from D-III were LeTourneau University (388-385, 773), University of Texas at Dallas (421-423, 844), and Concordia University-Texas (467-480, 947).

Lovell Leads BSC At Ann Rhoads Classic

Junior Ashley Lovell led No. 23 Birmingham Southern to a fifth-place finish in the Ann Rhoads Classic in Calera, Ala. Despite competing mostly against Division II and NAIA schools, BSC held their own on Day One with a score of 337, paced by Lovell's 3-over 74. However, the Panthers couldn't maintain the pace on Day Two, firing a 350 on the second day for a total of 687. They finished down at fifth place, 32 strokes behind first-place University of West Florida (327-328, 655), and fell two spots in the Coaches Poll.

Lovell, whose performance earned her Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Female Golfer of the Week honors, placed third individually with her 77 on Day Two for a total of 151. The Panthers also received a good showing from sophomore Jennifer Commander who closed with an 82 and an 84, totaling 166, to finish 11th at the Par-71 Timberline Golf Club. But after a very successful fall where the individual 18-hole scoring average was 81.6, BSC averaged 85.9 at the Ann Rhoads.

Also competing from D- III were Huntingdon (378-396, 774) and Millsaps (460-436, 896) who finished ninth and 10th out of 11, respectively.

Thunder Rhodes

Junior Stephanie Mingos posted a plus-6 (78) to lead Rhodes College to victory over Millsaps at Lake Caroline Golf Club in Madison, Mississippi, in her first-ever round at the course.

Millsaps senior Mirel Brackin had the second-best round of the day with an 83, but Mingos was backed up by senior Maddie Callis (89), freshmen Allie Bankart (90), and fellow junior Nicole Jones (91) for the 348-397 victory over the Majors.

Women's Golf Version Of March Madness

On the weekend of Mar. 19, seven ranked teams, including No. 1 Methodist University, will converge on Jekyll Island, Ga. for the annual Jeykll Island Collegiate Invitational hosted by Oglethorpe University.

This year's tournament will feature 25 squads from 14 different states with an additional 15 individual competitors at the Indian Mound Course designed by Joe Lee. Lee is noted for work on three courses that have hosted PGA Tour events; La Costa Resort (former host to the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship), the Magnolia Course at Walt Disney World (Children's Miracle Network Classic), and the Dubsdread Course at Cog Hill (the FedEx Cup Playoff's BMW Championship).

Oglethorpe men's coach and unofficial tournament director Jim Owen claimed that the course, which will play at a Par 72 and around 5,800 yards, poses the most difficulty through shifty ocean breezes. The course was designed for a prevailing wind, but while the weather tends to be very accommodating, wind changes can force players to reconsider club selection. He also cautioned that wooded areas lining fairways are very tight and difficult to escape and that the course is built around several lakes and marshes-relief from alligators will most definitely be in effect.

There are two factors that make this tournament exciting. The first is having a sizeable pool of ranked teams and five more who received votes in the first polls of spring, meaning that some of the nation's best teams will spend the weekend jockeying for positioning.

But Jekyll Island should also be exciting because while some squads such as No. 8 Illinois Wesleyan and No. 21 Otterbein are just kicking off their seasons, others such as top-ranked Methodist and No. 23 Birmingham Southern will be halfway into theirs. Methodist, the 12-time repeating NCAA D-III champions, certainly doesn't need any extra help, so it should be interesting to see if the teams kicking off their season can get into top gear right away.

Looking To Take Centre Stage

If history is any indication, Methodist looks to be a favorite at Jekyll Island, but another team to watch is No. 20 Centre College. The Colonels are returning all five competitors from last year's 10th place team and each one of them improved their scores this past fall. Senior Katie McKenna led the way, posting two rounds in the 70's in her final event of the fall, well down from her 92-92-104 she shot at Jekyll last year, and freshman Whitney Miller had a great start to her collegiate career this fall.

Additionally, last year's Division III Freshman of the Year Emily Bachert will also return this spring for Centre after missing the fall season due to a stress fracture in her hand. Last year at Jekyll, Bachert finished second individually with a score of 240. She shot an 84-83-83, 250 as an individual this week at the Edwin Watts Kiawah Island Classic where she was the only competitor representing Division III.

The Colonels open their season Mar. 7 in a dual match against Rhodes College at Temple Hills Country Club in Franklin, Tenn.