May 12, 2017

Bruins Finish Second At NCAA Div. III Women's Golf Championships

A Winning Tradition

  • Nine NCAA D-III National Championship Tournaments (2010-8th; 2011-12th; 2012-7th; 2013-4th; 2014-9th; 2015-6th; 2016-T-3rd; 2017-2nd; 2018 -3rd)
  • Nine Northwest Conference Champions (2010; 2011; 2012; 2013; 2014; 2015; 2016; 2017; 2018)
  • Nine Top 25 National Rankings (2010-7th; 2011-7th; 2012-7th; 2013-5th; 2014-10th; 2015 - 2nd; 2016-2nd; 2017-1st; 2018-1st)
  • 10 straight winning seasons (2009-18)
  • 70 tournament wins in program's 10 seasons
  • Overall record of 729-186-1 in program's nine seasons (.796)
  • 14 All-Americans, 21 All-West Region players, 37 All-Conference players
  • Two PING National Player of the Year (Kelsey Morrison, 2013; Sydney Maluenda, 2015)
  • One WGCA National Freshman of the Year (Sydney Maluenda, 2014)
  • Nine NWC Players of the Year
  • Three West Region Coach of the Year awards (2009-10, 2015-16, 2016-17)
  • Five NWC Coach of the Year awards (2010-11, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2016-17)
  • Six WGCA All-American Scholars, Three Academic All-District student-athletes
  • Five Academic All-Americans 

HOUSTON, Texas --- The No. 1-ranked George Fox women's golf team recorded its highest finish at the 2017 NCAA Division III Women's Golf Championships, Friday afternoon, as the Bruins came home with a program-best second place finish.

George Fox entered the final round with a four-stroke lead over No. 3 Rhodes College and an 11 stroke lead over No. 2 Williams College.

The final round didn't start off the way the Bruins anticipated, as the team found its four-stroke lead had disappeared, and Rhodes College turned the tables with a two-stroke lead after three holes.

The Bruins were able to regather their lead on the next couple of holes, and senior Sydney Maluenda sank a birdie putt on six to give the Bruins a three-stroke lead. Junior Kristin Elich birdied hole five and freshman Rachel Drgastin birdied hole seven, and suddenly the Bruins had their largest lead of five strokes after eight holes of play.

Maluenda continued her strong play on the front nine, as the senior followed up her birdie on six with a birdie on seven to push the Bruins' lead to six strokes.

As a team, the Bruins finished the front nine with a team score of 9-over. Elich came up big for the Bruins on the ninth hole with a birdie on the 365 yard par four. In all, the Bruins recorded five birdies on the front nine.

The back nine wasn't as kind to the Bruins as a couple of early bogeys put Rhodes College back in contention. After the first three holes on the back nine, Rhodes regained a two-stroke lead with the Bruins battling for a comeback.

With four holes left in the final round, Maluenda and Drgastin both birdied 16 to give the Bruins a one-stroke advantage over Rhodes.

The rollercoaster of a ride continued in the final holes, as the championship came down to the final hole of the four day tournament. Rhodes was able to secure the victory by two strokes.

The Bruins finished the tournament with a 303-303-297-316 – 1219. The Bruins' third round was the lowest team score in all four days. Rhodes College repeats as National Champions with a 301-300-306-310 – 1217. Wittenberg University climbed up to third place with a 314-298-305-312 – 1229.

Elich was the top finisher for the Bruins at tied for seventh with a 77-74-71-78 – 300. Iris Kawada finished T-11th with a 74-73-75-82 – 304, and Maluenda was right behind at T-14th with a 78-75-74-78 – 308. Rachel Drgastin finished T-25th with a 76-81-77-78 – 312. Madison Perry finished with a 76-85-82-87 – 330 to place T-54th.

"It has been quite the growing experience here at George Fox," said Maluenda. "I've grateful for the time I've had here and watching this team grow over the four years I've been here. It didn't end the way we wanted, but left everything we had out there on that course. I'm excited to see what these women can do in the future." 

Christina Herbert of Bridgewater College won the tournament with a 74-69-76-74 – 293.

"The ladies played their hearts out today," added head coach MaryJo McCloskey. "Conditions were pretty tough on the course with a change of wind in today's round. We will learn from this experience. You learn more in defeat than you do in victory. I'm just proud of the way we fought. We had a lot of great support and we are beyond thankful of the support we felt from everyone today."