KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (Feb. 23, 2009) - Junior Sinead O'Sullivan (Galway, Ireland) collected her second career individual championship and the ETSU women's golf team finished ahead of five ranked opponents, as the Buccaneers placed third on the 43-team leaderboard following final round play in the Kiawah Island Classic Tuesday at the Oak Point Golf Club.
O'Sullivan fired a final round score of 1-under-par 71 to finish the event at 2-over 218, tying with Central Arkansas' Nicole Forshner for top medalist honors. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers ended the event with a team score of 908, which left them four strokes back of Miami and Central Arkansas, which tied for the team title at 904.
"This is really big for our program and will help us with our national rankings, especially to hold off so many perennial powers - and to beat them for three days," said ETSU head coach Stefanie Shelton, whose team placed ahead of ranked teams such as No. 27 Florida, No. 28 Oregon, No. 34 Mississippi, No. 40 UCF and No. 45 Kentucky. "I am so proud of the girls and the fact that they played so solid for three rounds."
Individually, O'Sullivan and fellow junior Laura Jansone (Jurmala, Latvia) are the only two ETSU women's golfers to ever win an individual championship, and both are now tied with two titles apiece. The junior said she took the same approach each day at the tournament.
"I knew I was playing well and for some reason I had winning in my sights this week," O'Sullivan said. "Playing solid each day, each hole was my goal, and with the exception of three-putting on the last hole of the tournament for a bogey, I was able to do what I wanted. We're really happy as a team right now and are proud of what we accomplished this week."
Along with O'Sullivan, the Bucs success relied on a solid performance from all five players on the roster. Freshman Nina Muehl (Vienna, Austria) finished tied for 25th, while senior Lucy Gould (Bargoed, Wales) and Jansone finished tied for 66th. Junior Kennie Leigh Eisenhower (Newport) rebounded from her struggles earlier in the tournament to post a solid 3-over 75 on the final day.
"Sinead was just fantastic and for her to beat a field with so many quality players is impressive," Shelton said. "I think having Kennie Leigh step up after those first two days and come back to contribute is an indication of this team's attitude. She never gave up and neither did our team. They kept fighting and believing they could win. I think that's what can make this team special this year."
The Lady Bucs will return to action March 2 at the Pinehurst Challenge in Pinehurst, N.C. For more on ETSU women's golf throughout the season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women's golf link.