TULSA, Okla. (May 19, 2014) – ETSU junior Gabriella Wahl (Heidenheim, Germany) is just hours away from facing the toughest individual challenge of her college golf career – and she couldn’t be happier.
When she walks onto the golf course at the Tulsa County Club on Tuesday, Wahl will become only the second ETSU women’s golfer to ever compete in the NCAA Division I national tournament. The significance of this special opportunity is not lost on Wahl.
“I am enjoying everything around the tournament a lot and I’m excited for things to get started tomorrow,” said Wahl, who along with the others competitors will play four rounds over the next four days to determine a national champion. “It is a great opportunity to be competing against the best players in the nation and representing ETSU on this stage.”
Wahl earned her spot in the NCAAs by finishing tied for seventh on the individual leaderboard at the NCAA East Regionals a little over a week ago at the Southwood Country Club in Tallahassee, Fla. After carding a team-best round of 3-under-par 69 on the final day, Wahl was hoping her overall score of 4-under-par 212 (68-75-69) would be enough to garner one of the two individual berths that go to players who are not members of the Top 8 teams.
Instead, Baylor’s Hayley Davis secured the first of the two spots with a second-place finish at 6-under-par 210, leaving Wahl to face a playoff against Pepperdine’s Grace Na for the remaining invite. The two battled through three grueling holes before Wahl sank an eagle putt on the Par 5, No. 10 to win on the fourth hole of sudden death. Na, who entered the regional ranked 17th nationally, was forced to watch her season come to a close.
With that defining eagle putt, Wahl joined former ETSU women’s golfer Nina Muehl (Vienna, Austria) as the only Buccaneers to earn berths into the NCAA Championships. Muehl competed in the 2010 NCAAs.
ETSU head coach Stefanie Shelton said she would not be surprised to see Wahl at the top of the leaderboard later this week.
“Gabriella is undoubtedly one of the most decorated golfers to come through our program, and she’s done this by being one of the most driven and hardest working players as well,” said ETSU head coach Stefanie Shelton. “Players like her make me strive to be a great coach. She has grown tremendously as a golfer and I am proud to have her representing our ETSU golf program at nationals.
“She proved last week that she has the game to compete against the best and she has an opportunity this week to end her collegiate career atop the best, which I feel she can and will do.”
Fans can watch live scoring by visiting Golfstat.com and clicking on the NCAA Championship link, while ETSUBucs.com will also provide a complete wrap up following each day’s play.