ETSU women finish 15th on team leaderboard, miss NCAA cut
GREENVILLE, N.C. (May 8, 2010) - A record-setting week ended with another historic moment for the ETSU women's golf team Saturday in the third round of the NCAA East Regional hosted by East Carolina at the Ironwood Country Club.
Firing a final round score of 1-over-par 73 and finishing at 3-under 213 for the tournament, ETSU sophomore Nina Muehl (Vienna, Austria) became the first Buccaneers' women's golfer to ever earn a spot in the NCAA Championships. Muehl, who posted a record round of 8-under 64 in the first round, finished tied for fourth on the individual leaderboard and was one of two players to earn individual invites to the finals.
"I'm so happy that I made it and I'm going to have a chance to represent ETSU at nationals," said Muehl, who finished just three strokes back of South Carolina's Katie Burnett for the individual title. "The whole team was so happy and it was special week."
ETSU head coach Stefanie Shelton was proud of her sophomore star.
"This is obviously a huge next step for our program," Shelton said. "First we accomplished a Top 50 ranking, then a regional berth, and now nationals for the first time ever. What an incredible tournament for Nina. The 64 was phenomenal, and then to continue and finish at 3-under was special.
"What made me even more proud is that the whole time she was only concerned about the team making it. That seemed to be her motivation - not herself."
Muehl had reason to be concerned about her teammates. After finishing the first round tied for sixth and in contention for one of eight berths into the NCAA Championships, the Bucs struggled in the final two rounds of the event.
The No. 48-ranked Bucs ultimately finished 15th on the team leaderboard after Saturday's action, 23-strokes out of the all-important top eight. No. 29-ranked South Carolina ultimately bested No. 18 Tennessee by two strokes for the team title.
"I really thought our team was confident and ready for this tournament, and we showed that in the first round," Muehl said. "It's disappointing that we were not able to make it as a team. That was really my hope."
In addition to her other historic achievements this week, Muehl also set a new school record for two-round score with a 140 (64-76), and matched her own program record for three-round score at 213. She also becomes only the second women's golfer in Atlantic Sun Conference history to earn an individual berth.
Muehl will now prepare for the NCAA Championships which begin May 18 in Wilmington, N.C. Fans can stay up-to-date on Muehl's efforts at nationals by visiting ETSUBucs.com and clicking on the women's golf link.