JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 14, 2018) – ETSU’s women’s golf team has played eight tournaments this academic year, with the aim of being ready for its ninth, and most important – the Southern Conference Championships, starting Sunday in Hilton Head, S.C.
The winning team earns an automatic bid to the NCAA post-season. In addition, the top 24 individual players from teams that didn’t get a post-season spot receive an at large bid. NCAA play begins May 7 with four regional tournaments and concludes with the National Championships, May 18-23 in Stillwater, Okla.
The SoCon Championships starts Sunday and is scheduled to wrap up on Tuesday at the par-72, 6105-yard Moss Creek Golf Club. Moss Creek previously hosted the tournament from 2009-2014, but this weekend will be the Bucs’ first look at the course – ETSU was a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference during those years.
The Bucs’ Hee Ying Loy (Johor, Malaysia) was an at-large selection last year and finished 30th out of 96 players at the Columbus (Ohio) Regional. Since then, the 2017 SoCon Player of the Year has earned a conference Player of the Week award, was among the finalists for the Arnold Palmer Cup, and has posted ETSU’s top score in 20 of 24 rounds this year.
Loy is 64th in the latest Golfstat.com player rankings, the 5th-highest in the SoCon behind a quartet of players from Furman, led by Natalie Srinivasan (22nd). Loy has finished in the top ten in five of the Bucs’ eight tournaments.
ETSU is 113th in the Golfstat team rankings of 261 Division I programs, in the upper half of the nine teams in the SoCon. Ahead of the Bucs are Furman (8), Chattanooga (74), and Mercer (78). Trailing the Bucs are UNCG (123), Samford (187), Wofford (188), Western Carolina (235) and The Citadel (253).
Loy was a SoCon All-Freshman selection in 2016 and looking for her third consecutive spot on the all-conference squad. Ankita Kedlaya (Bangalore, India) was All-Freshman last year. Since the Bucs’ return to the SoCon Championships in 2015, five players (Loy, Kedlaya, Vivienne Chen, Dominika Czudkova, and Linda Dobele) have earned all-conference or all-freshman honors.
The Bucs go in to Hilton Head after finishing 9th at the Brickyard Collegiate, which wrapped up Tuesday in Macon, Ga. Loy was the team’s top finisher, tied for 17th out of 78 players. Tereza Melecka (Belcovice, Czech Republic) was tied for 23rd, Kedlaya tied for 43rd and Kornbongkoat Sararat (Nongkhai, Thailand) tied for 71st.
Furman, Chattanooga and ETSU have finished 1-2-3 in the last two SoCon Championships. The Paladins and Mocs have equally split the last ten titles; the last time a team outside that duo won was in 2007, when Western Carolina held off Furman and former SoCon member College of Charleston by four strokes.
The weather is predicted to be partly to mostly cooperative. Forecasts call for a good chance of rain on Sunday afternoon, but sunny skies on Monday and Tuesday. High temperatures should be around 70, and the wind could come into play – strong southerly breezes are expected on the first two days of the tournament.
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For more information on Buccaneer women’s golf, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s golf page.