Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Several Women's Golf Teams, Players With Momentum Heading Into Championship

Several A-Sun women's golf teams and individuals are riding recent successes as they head into the 2012 A-Sun Women's Golf Championship, April 9-11, at the Venetian Bay Golf Club in New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

Host Stetson has won three consecutive team titles, and their top player Alexandria Buelow is the returning individual champ. However, don't hand the Hatters the title just yet, as Jacksonville claimed a two-stroke victory over Stetson on March 29 on the same course they will traverse next week. Plus, there are several young players having successful seasons across the A-Sun who would love to knock off the defending champion. Perhaps that's why they actually play the game.

Home Course Advantage
Belmont captured its first team title of the year, winning the Belmont Invitational on April 2. The win was Belmont’s second Top 5 finish of the spring. 
Belmont's Steen has six Top-10 finishes in 2011-12.

Four Bruins were in the Top 15 of the tournament, led by Jennifer Newman’s second-place tie. Janet Steen and Sydney Hudson also tied for eighth, and Kelly Maguigan finished just out of the top 10 at No. 11. The Top-10 finishes were the sixth for Steen and the second for Hudson in 2011-12.

And a Child Will Lead Them
The freshman classes for the Kennesaw State University and Jacksonville are ranked No. 1 and No. 25, respectively, nationally according to Golfstat's Top 25 Freshmen Class Impact Rankings, released on Monday.

KSU has finished fourth in its last two tournaments, led by Top-10 finishes by freshmen Lea Charpier and Keaw Preamchuen. Preamchuen finished in a tie for 10th at the Hurricane Invitational (3/6/12), her first collegiate Top-10 finish. Charpier has recorded three Top-25 finishes in 2011-12, including her best of eighth at the Insperity Lady Jaguar Intercollegiate (3/18/12). Preamchuen also finished 14th at the Lady Jaguar.  

The Owls are currently the highest ranked A-Sun team in the Golfstat women’s rankings, checking in at No. 61. 

KSU's Lea Charpier and JU's Natalie Schmett

Jacksonville's freshman duo of Natalie Schmett and Jessica Welch has been dynamic for the Dolphins, who rank 163rd in the latest Golfstat rankings. In six of the team's nine competitions this season, either Schmett or Welch have led the team in scoring and helped the Dolphins to five Top-10 finishes.

In a recent tune-up for the upcoming A-Sun Championship, JU defeated three-time defending champion Stetson 295-297 in an 18-hole match at Venetian Bay Golf Club, the site of this year’s championship. Schmett joined teammate Morgan Jackson with a one-under-par 71, and Welch contributed a 5-over-par 77. 

Schmett has seven Top-25 finishes, four Top-10 finishes and an individual title (Wendy’s Invitational, 10/18/12) in 2011-12. Welch also has added three Top-10 finishes this season, including her season-best third place finish at the Great Smokies Intercollegiate (9/20/12). Most recently Schmett finished eighth and Jessica Welch sixth at the 2012 Marsh Landing Intercollegiate. 

Bucs’ New Found Treasure
ETSU freshman golfer Gabriella Wahl enjoyed an outstanding March, capturing her first collegiate individual title with a victory at the John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate. In that tournament, Wahl set a new Buccaneer program record for three-round score, carding a 7-under-par 209 (70-70-69). Wahl’s final round score of 3-under-par 69 also matched her career best for single round score. Following that victory Wahl received her third A-Sun Women’s Golfer of the Week honor. 

In addition to her victory at the John Kirk/Panther, Intercollegiate, Wahl’s month also included a 12th place finish at the Insperity Lady Jaguar Intercollegiate and a tie for 21st at the JMU Eagle Landing. She was also the top ETSU performer at the Insperity event. In the last month, she has recorded a team best stroke average of 73.0.

Success Has Become Old Hat
Considered the favorite to repeat as the individual champion at the upcoming A-Sun Women’s Golf Championship, junior Alexandria Buelow is enjoying a tremendous season. Ranked No. 15 in the April 4 Golfstat rankings, she has earned Women’s Golfer of the Week honors four times this season and led the Hatters to three team titles. 
Defending A-Sun champion Alexandria Buelow

Individually Buelow has four titles and has finished in the top 10 in eight of the nine tournaments in 2011-12. Buelow has finished even or under par in four of her nine tournaments this season, and set the school single-round mark with a 67 in the final round of the MSU Ocala Spring Invitational. In the first round of the Marsh Landing Invitational on Monday, Buelow shot a 69 to lead Stetson to a 21-stroke opening round lead, then won the individual title and helped the Hatters to their third team victory of the season.

Bears Not in Hibernation
Mercer finished fifth in the 18-team field in their last tournament, the Cincinnati Spring Invitational, which gave them their fourth Top-5 finish of the season. The Bears were led by Mary Alice Murphy’s seventh-place finish. That gives her five Top-10 finishes this season, including two as runner-up. Murphy leads the Bears with a 75.71 stroke average.

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