ANGOLA, Ind. — DePauw didn’t make it easy, but Methodist won its 15th consecutive NCAA Championship on Friday with a four-stroke victory.
The Monarchs teed off Friday afternoon holding a two-stroke lead ahead of DePauw and hoping to keep their streak alive. There is a tradition of success in Methodist and the expectations are not lost on the team. The 2012 title marks the 15th consecutive and 25th overall in 27 years of national tournaments. Methodist has won every year since the NCAA separated Division II and III in 2000 and boasts the longest active championship streak in the NCAA across all divisions. They also have the third longest streak all-time behind the Kenyon men’s swimming and diving (31 consecutive) and the women’s swimming and diving (17 consecutive) teams.
Through the front nine, Methodist looked strong early and led by 10 strokes. DePauw came on strong and slowly chipped away at the lead before moving within one stroke. DePauw’s Kelsey Smith was on fire early standing at two-under through 15 holes helping to lead the Tigers’ charge. Smith’s bogey on 16 and double on 17 helped the Monarchs down the stretch. With three holes left, Methodist extended its lead back to four and Jenny Sullivan finished strong with a birdie on 18 in front of a huge crowd to clinch the six-stroke win for the Monarchs.
“We’ve had leads before, but this was just a slugfest all week,” Methodist head coach Tom Inczauskis said. “We had played DePauw once before during the season and beat them by one stroke and we knew top to bottom we are so evenly matched.”
Methodist won the title with a four-day total of 1,242 (310-310-312-310) while DePauw finished second at 1248 (314-307-313-314). Wisconsin-Eau Claire took third at 1255 (315-307-320-313) led by individual medalist Catherine Wagner winning the event with a 302 (78-71-76-77).
The Monarchs’ had two golfers finish in the top 10 paced by Sullivan’s tie for sixth with a 307 (76-78-76-77) and Loretta Giovannettone tied for ninth at 309 (74-82-77-76). Kelsey Magnine wrapped up her career tied for 19th at 312 (81-76-78-77) and Kelsie Carralero finished in 39th place with a 319 (80-78-81-80). Taylor Dominguez tied for 59th at 328 (80-78-83-87).
Giovannettone finished with three birdies on Friday to lead the team with 11 during the four day tournament. Magnine and Carralero had two apiece in the final round.
“This team is so close,” Inczauskis added. “I had to tell them to go to bed at midnight. They protested, but I reminded them, ‘there’s this little thing called a championship going on and you need to rest!’ “
The win gives Methodist five for the year and the title marks Inczauskis’ third championship in three years at the helm.
“We knew we would have a lot to replace this year after the graduation of Paige Caldwell, Emily Jackson and Gretchen McLean, but we played so consistently,” Inczauskis said. “It was a gut-wrenching week, but we are all very excited to win the title and keep the streak going.”