NEWBERG, Ore. - After finishing the 2011-12 season as the runner-up in the NCAA Division III National Player of the Year sweepstakes, George Fox University’s Kelsey Morrison appears ready to challenge for top honors again, as her early-season numbers have put her ahead of the field in the first 2012-13 women’s golf statistics report from Golfstat.com.
In matches played through Sept. 26, the Bruins’ senior from Yucca Valley, Calif., leads the entire nation in scoring average (73.50 strokes per 18-hole round) and score vs. par (1.50). Her first-day score of 70 in the Boxer Classic on Sept. 22 is tied for the lowest round in the nation thus far with Kelsey Smith of DePauw University.
Morrison has won both of the tournaments in which the Bruins have competed this fall, first taking the prestigious O’Brien National Invitational Tournament in Notre Dame, Ind., on Sept. 16-17 by four strokes with a score of 73-76=149. All 10 of the teams in the O’Brien were ranked in the Golf World / National Golf Coaches Association D-III pre-season top 15. Included in the field were Catherine Wagner of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the 2012 National Tournament champion, whom Morrison defeated by five shots, and Olivia Lugar of Washington University-St. Louis, the 2012 Player of the Year who finished eight strokes back of Morrison.
George Fox then won the Boxer Classic on Sept. 22-23 in Banks, Ore., with Morrison again medaling with a score of 70-73=143. She captured that even by 10 strokes over teammate Whitney Jammerman.
As a team, George Fox recently moved up to No. 5 in the Golf World / NGCA rankings, their highest position ever.
“As our team has moved into the top 10 national rankings over the last few years, Kelsey has pushed herself to get better and better in order to help the team climb to the top,” observes George Fox head coach MaryJo McCloskey, who is now in her sixth season with the Bruins after instituting the program at the school in the spring of 2006. “Kelsey loves the fact that, over her three years at GFU, the team has collected three Northwest Conference championship banners which are hanging in the gym and has played in three national championship tournaments. It is the team motivation that has her today leading the nation in individual statistics and ranked as the number one player in the nation. She wants another conference banner, of course, but this year wants a national championship banner as well ... which means she is going to work even harder. Stay tuned."
Morrison was a Second Team All-American as a sophomore and earned First Team All-America honors last year, as well as being named the NWC Player of the Year. She is a three-time All-NWC performer, and this year was named the NWC Women’s Golf Student-Athlete of the Week for Sept. 17-23.
Morrison and the Bruins will be back on the links this weekend, hosting the Culturame Classic at The Reserve Vineyards and Gold Club in Aloha, Ore., on Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 6-7. Tee times are set for 11:45 a.m. each day, and the public is invited.