Women’s Golf Receives Bid to NCAA Division III Championship for Fourth-Straight Year
St. Louis, Mo., May 6, 2013 – The Washington University in St. Louis women's golf team will make its fourth-straight appearance in the NCAA Division III Championship, as announced Monday by the NCAA. The Bears earned an at-large bid to the NCAA championship, which will be played Tuesday-Friday, May 14-17, at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Destin, Fla.
Washington University, ranked No. 3 in the Golf World/National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) coaches' poll, placed in the top-five in all nine tournaments they competed in. The Bears won two tournaments in 2012-13, claiming victories at the Doug Georgianni Memorial Invitational (Sept. 1-2) and at the Millikin University Fall Classic (Sept 22-23).
“We are extremely happy to be invited back to the NCAA Championship for the fourth-straight year. It doesn’t seem like that long ago when we were thinking how nice it would be to play in the final tournament of the year,” said fifth-year head coach Sean Curtis, the 2012 Division III Eaton Pride NGCA National Coach of the Year. “This team has been very dedicated and committed to doing whatever it takes to be prepared as the season moved along.”
Washington U. brings a 314.78 scoring average to the NCAA Championship, a mark that is the second lowest in school history. The Bears finished the regular season ranked No. 7 in the Division III head-to-head rankings.
Sophomore Olivia Lugar, freshman Connie Zhou, senior Hannah Buck and junior Andrea Hibbert lead a group of five golfers who will compete in the NCAA Championship. All four are ranked in top-25 in NCAA Division III in scoring, with Lugar and Zhou ranked in the top 15.
Lugar, the 2012 NGCA Division III National Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year, has fired 16 of 18 rounds this season at 80 or lower. She ranks fifth in NCAA Division III with a 77.28 average, and tied for medalist honors at the Doug Georgianni Memorial Invitational and at the Millikin University Fall Classic.
Zhou is 11th in NCAA Division III with a 78.28 stroke average, and has recorded 13 rounds at 80 or lower. She carded a pair of 75s at the Millikin University Fall Classic Sept. 22-23 en route to a career-best third-place finish. Zhou has finished in the top-10 in six of eight tournaments played, and is the second-ranked freshman in NCAA Division III.
Hibbert and Buck enter the NCAA Championship tied for 24th in NCAA Division III in scoring at 79.67. Hibbert has fired 13 of 18 rounds at 80 or lower, including three-straight 78s to end regular-season play. Buck, the only three-time All-American in school history, has fired 10 rounds at 80 or lower this season. Rounding out the starting lineup is senior Melanie Walsh (85.44), who ranks 201st in NCAA Division III in scoring.
“I am so proud of these seniors. Hannah will be the first player in program history to go to four national championships, and Melanie will be going to her third (she was abroad her junior year). They have really been integral in helping set the tone and attitude this team has taken on,” Curtis added.
Last season, Washington U. placed 13th out of 19 teams at the NCAA Championship in its third-straight appearance. The Bears also took home eighth place in 2011 and 19th place in 2010 in their first-ever appearance.
The championship consists of both team and individual competition conducted concurrently. The tournament will be contested across 72 holes of play during four days of competition. In the team competition, the low four scores from each team for each day will count in the team’s total score.
In 2012, Methodist University won its 15th consecutive and 25th overall title in 27 years of the Division III Women’s Golf Championship. Methodist has won every year since the NCAA separated Division II and III in 2000 and boasts the longest active championship streak in the NCAA across all divisions.
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Catherine Wagner earned medalist honors by edging Centre College’s Emily Bachert, St. Olaf College’s Molly Erickson ad Central College’s Sarah Paulson by one shot in 2012.