DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- A program that began only four years ago, Seton Hall has won the 2014 Big East Championship. The Pirates defeated the rest of the new-look Big East field by seven strokes to claim its first conference title on Saturday.
Seton Hall led the three-round event wire-to-wire and entered Saturday's final round leading by 13 strokes. The Pirates fired a 24-over-par, 312, in round three to comfortably win the title by seven strokes over Georgetown. The Hall finishes the event at 64-over-par, with a 314-302-312-928. Georgetown finished at 71-over-par, while St. John's was third at 73-over-par.
"I am ecstatic for our team," Head Coach Sara Doell said. "This is proof that hard work and determination pays off in the end. I am truly overwhelmed with pride right now."
The title is Seton Hall's first team championship since the baseball team won the 2011 Big East Championship.
Erin McClure and Megan Tenhundfeld led the Pirates in Saturday's final round. McClure shot a 4-over-par, 76, while Tenhunfeld fired a 5-over-par, 77. Both golfers tied for second place among all individual golfers. They finished the three-round event three strokes behind Harin Lee of St. John's, who won the individual championship for the second time in her impressive career.
"It's hard to explain my emotion on what was such an incredible experience," McClure said. "It's truly amazing to come together as a team and win. It's an incredible feeling. I'm stoked that our season isn't over and we get to go on to Regionals and keep this going!"
McClure finished the three-round event with a very consistent 13-over-par, 77-76-76-229, while Tenhundfeld was 13-over-par with a 79-73-77-229.
"We're extremely happy with the results," Tenhundfeld said. "I believe everyone contributed to this win, whether it be through their score or simply their support. Personally, I was really happy with how I was able to contribute. I'm really glad to see my hard work paying off."
Ali Kruse placed ninth overall with a 16-over-par, 78-74-80-232. Kruse led Seton Hall in scoring average this year, has an individual tournament championship and now can add a Big East title to her impressive list of career accolades.
"I feel beyond blessed to be a member of this Big East Championship team," Kruse said. "Deep down, we all knew we could win and I couldn't be more proud of my teammates. We stayed in the moment, took everything one shot at a time and are bringing home a trophy for The Hall! Go Pirates!"
Senior Hannah Basalone, arguably the program's most decorated golfer in history, graduates as a champion after being one of the founding members of the team in 2010. Basalone tied for 13th place among all individual golfers with a 22-over-par, 80-79-79-238.
"I still can't really believe we just won," Basalone said. "To see this program develop and be a part of it from the very beginning has been so cool. If you had told me four years ago we'd win the BIG EAST before I graduated, I probably wouldn't have believed you. I'm so proud of my entire team for what we've been able to accomplish. I couldn't think of a better way to end my time at Seton Hall."
Karlie Zabrosky shaved nearly two full strokes off her scoring average from her freshman year to her sophomore year and has been a major contributor all season long. Zabrosky tied for 19th with a 30-over-par, 83-82-81-246.
"When I came to Seton Hall last year, I didn't think I'd experience anything quite this awesome," Zabrosky said. "I couldn't be more proud to be on this team."
With the championship, Seton Hall earns an automatic berth to the NCAA Regional Championships as part of the NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship on May 8-10.
"Four years ago we began this program on the ground level," Doell said. "It was significant just to be able to call them a team. Now, we can call them champions."