Recap | Results
WGF: NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS - Bruins Improve by 12 Strokes on 2nd Day to Climb to 7th
HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. - Showing a 12-stroke improvement over their play on Tuesday in their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division III Women’s Golf National Championships, the George Fox University Bruins shot a 337 and climbed four spots to seventh in the standings Wednesday here at the Mission Inn Resort Golf Course.
After carding a 349 on the first day on the par-73, 5,901-yard El Campeon course, the Bruins now have a two-day score of 686, with two days remaining. Methodist College, the 12-time defending national champion and tournament favorite, held onto its first-day lead by shooting a 333 for a two-day score of 650 - but just barely. The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire closed within one stroke of the leaders by shooting a 320 and now stands second at 651.
Gustavus Adolphus is third after a 332 on Wednesday for a collective score of 663. George Fox was paired with Methodist and Gustavus Adolphus on the first two days of the tournament.
“Yes, there was a little bit of an intimidation factor that first day,” admitted Bruin coach MaryJo McCloskey, “playing with the top two teams in the country. (Professional golfer) Stewart Cink’s’ parents live about 20 minutes from here and they came down to watch us, since I’m friends with them, and they remarked that we were getting our ‘baptism under fire’, playing with the very best right from the start. But we got that out of the way and held our own today; we bounced back well and hope to continue climbing in the standings.”
Kelsey Morrison and Brianna Nap tied for the Bruins’ best round on Wednesday, each with an 82. Jill Westendorf posted an 86, while Mandy Cameron, the Bruins’ first-day leader, slipped to an 87. Sarah Askin completed the George Fox contingent with a 90.
Halfway through the tournament, Morrison leads the team with an 86-82=168 (tied for 27th), followed by Cameron at 83-87=170 (tied for 34th), Nap at 92-82=174 (tied for 42nd), Westendorf at 91-86=177 (tied for 51st), and Askin at 89-90=179 (tied for 62nd).
“Kelsey has been playing steady, consistent golf throughout the tournament,” noted McCloskey. “Mandy was doing well before running into some trouble late in her round today, especially on holes 16, 17, and 18, which are unforgiving for everyone. This is a course that favors accuracy over distance, and for big hitters like Brianna and Jill, I’ve had to get them to harness their drivers on certain holes.”
The Bruins have the best score among teams from the West Region. Southwestern University of Texas climbed six spots and is tied for ninth at 690, while Whitworth University, co-champion of the Northwest Conference with George Fox and the league’s automatic qualifier, improved five places to 14th with a 709.
Natalie Matuszak of St. Mary’s College (Ind.) is the individual leader at 155, while teammate Mary Kate Boyce and a pair of Methodist players, Paige Caldwell and Alana Swain, are all one stroke back at 156. Defending national champion Susan Martin of Methodist was unfortunately disqualified for the day, costing her a shot at medalist honors, when she signed an incorrect scorecard at the end of play on Wednesday.
For the final two rounds on Thursday and Friday, teams will be grouped in threesomes according to the standings. George Fox, now in seventh, will be teamed with No. 8 Allegheny College and No. 9 Southwestern for Thursday’s round, hitting off the No. 10 tee at 12:30, 12:40, 12:50, 1:00, and 1:10 in the afternoon Eastern time (9:30 through 10:10 in the morning Pacific time).
Team and individual scores and standings, along with Thursday’s pairings and tee times, may be accessed through either the NCAA Division III Women’s Golf National Championship web site or the Golfstat.com web site Golftstat.com is providing a live stats feed of each day’s play, updated every three holes. The NCAA web site link is http://www.ncaa.com/sports/w-golf/champpage/w-golf-div3-index.html; the link for Golfstats.com is http://www.golfstatresults.com/public/index.cfm?tournament_id=1840.