HILTON HEAD, S.C. (April 13, 2019) – Coming off one of their strongest results of the 2018-19 season, ETSU Women’s Golf carries loads of momentum into their most decisive tournament of the year, the Southern Conference Women’s Golf Championship at Moss Creek Golf Club.
ABOUT THE BUCS
With three tournaments within the first month of their spring season, the Blue and Gold earned the three-week respite they had heading into The Brickyard Collegiate earlier this week. The tournament, scheduled for two days, would be shortened to one day due to weather, but the Bucs made the most of the 36 holes they were able to play in Macon.
Sophomore standout Tereza Melecka (Belcovice, Czech Republic) led the way in making Monday count, playing her best golf of the spring by shooting a 1-under-par 71 followed by a 2-under-par 70. Melecka’s 3-under-par combined score gave her the third top-five of her career, finishing just three strokes and three positions out of the top spot on the individual leaderboard claimed by individual champion Carol Pyon of Mercer, whom the Bucs will see again this weekend.
Senior star Hee Ying Loy (Johor, Malaysia), ranked No. 74 nationally in this week’s Golfweek Collegiate Individual Rankings, locked in her 23rd career top-10 finish by opening with a 1-under-par 71 and showing no fatigue on the second 18 holes on a long first day of play, carding an even-par 72. Loy finished as one of eight players under par for the tournament, tying for seventh-place with North Carolina’s Mariana Ocano.
In addition to the two Bucs most often at the top of leaderboards, Melecka and Loy were supported by a pair of sophomores who continue to develop. Kornbongkoat Sararat (Nongkhai, Thailand) and Warda Amira Rawof (Kuala Lampur, Malaysia) each shot first-round 74s followed by 75s to finish in a tie for 23rd-place at 5-over-par. The result for Sararat was her best as a collegiate, while Rawof made it three straight tournaments with a top-25 in her first season in Johnson City.
The four stellar performances gave ETSU a third-place finish, their second top-three in their last three tournaments, with their sights aimed higher at tomorrow’s Southern Conference Championships.
ABOUT THE TOURNAMENT
Event: Southern Conference Championship
Dates: Sunday, April 14-Tuesday, April 16
Course: Moss Creek Golf Club
Opponents: Chattanooga, Citadel, Furman, Mercer, Samford, UNCG, WCU, Wofford
Four-time defending champion Furman enters the event as the favorite, sporting a national ranking of 26 in the most recent Golfweek collegiate team rankings. Mercer, victors at their home tournament in which the Bucs finished third earlier this week, moved up to No. 61 in the same rankings, hovering around the bubble for a possible at-large berth to the NCAA regionals. ETSU are ranked 76th, and almost assuredly would require a team win and subsequent automatic bid to the NCAAs in order to continue their team season.
In addition to the automatic team berth to regionals for the winner of the conference championship, individuals whose teams do not advance to regionals may qualify, but they will be awarded on an at-large basis on the NCAA Division I Selection Show Wednesday, April 24 at 5:30 p.m. ET.
ETSU sends Loy, Melecka, Sararat, Rawof, and Ankita Kedlaya (Bangalore, India) to Hilton Head to vie for the conference crown and auto bid to the NCAA regionals. Individually, should Loy lock in her third consecutive regional appearance, she would be the first Buccaneer in program history to advance to three straight. If Loy and Melecka, who improved her chance of an individual at-large bid with her fourth-place finish earlier this week, move to regionals, it would be the first time in program history multiple Bucs would advance individually to the NCAAs. ETSU begins their bid for a league title at 8:50 a.m. ET, the Bucs paired with Mercer and Furman on the first tee.
Live stats for both days of the tournament are available with Golfstat, with recaps to follow each day of play at ETSUbucs.com.
For more information on Buccaneer women’s golf, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s golf page.