NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (April 8, 2012) – With hopes of returning to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2010 and capturing the second conference title in program history, the ETSU women’s golf team opens play Monday in the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships at the Venetian Bay Golf Club.
The Buccaneers are led by sophomore Sian Evans (Gillingham, England) and freshman Gabriella Wahl (Heidenheim, Germany), who together this year totaled seven top-10 and 14 top-25 finishes. Evans’ best was third in ETSU’s most recent tournament, the John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate, and she added two other fifth-place finishes earlier in the season. Wahl finished in the top 10 of three tournaments this season, including medalist honors at the John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate.
Standing in the Bucs’ way will be the Stetson Hatters, who are looking for their fourth straight victory in the championships. With a win, Stetson can become the fourth team in A-Sun history to win four or more championships and only the second team to win four consecutive titles. FIU won four straight from 1991-94. ETSU owns one A-Sun Women’s Golf team title, winning in 2008, but the Bucs have also claimed the individual title twice in the last four years (Laura Jansone, 2008 and 2010).
A year ago, at Victorian Hills Golf Club, the Hatters trailed in the final round by three strokes, but for the second consecutive year rallied to claim the victory. Two years ago they shot the lowest team score in championship history to rally from a 12-stroke deficit in their first defense of the title. Stetson returns every member from last year’s championship team, four of which finished in the Top 20, including the defending individual champion, Alexandria Buelow.
Individually, Stetson has three players rated in the top 10 of the Golfstat.com pre-tournament ratings, while ETSU, Mercer and Kennesaw State each add two and Jacksonville has one. That list includes Evans, Wahl, Buelow, Mallory Viera (Stetson), Sian Evans (ETSU), Natalie Schmett (Jacksonville), Lauren Cate (Stetson), Mary Alice Murphy (Mercer), Lacey Fears (Mercer), Ket Preamchuen (KSU) and Ines Lescudier (KSU).
Play begins at 8 a.m. Monday with USC Upstate and Lipscomb opening play off the first tee.
Fans can keep up-to-date with live scoring provided by Golfstat.com, while ETSUBucs.com and AtlanticSun.org will provide complete wrap ups throughout the event. For more on ETSU women’s golf throughout the year, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s golf link.