2017 NCAA Division II Women's Golf South Super Regional

Marley

Follow Converse's own Marley Felthousen @ the NCAA Division 11 Super Regionals May 8-10 @ The Members Club at Woodcreek or Online with Live Scoring @ Golfstat at http://results.golfstat.com/public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=teamPlayer&tid=12851

Marley's Starting Time in the 1st Round Monday Morning is 9:20 off the 10th Tee.

ELGIN – One of the most challenging events in all of college sports begins on Monday in Northeast Columbia as The Members Club at Woodcreek plays host to the 2017 NCAA Division II Women's Golf South Super Regional.

 

In the 17 seasons since Division II women's golf became an NCAA championship event, 16 national title winners have come from the South Super Regional. Defending champion Rollins, which holds the high-water mark in Division II with six titles, enters the event as the No. 3 seed. The teams in this year's South Super Regional field have combined for 12 team national championships, 10 runner-up finishes, and 13 individual championships.

 

The Field

A total of 12 teams and six individuals were selected to participate in this year's tournament. The South Super Regional field is selected from the NCAA's South and Southeast Regions, which comprise six conferences that stretch from Florida to Ohio and westward to Alabama.

 

Each of the 12 teams participating in this year's event are ranked in the top 19 in the latest Golfstat rankings, including six of the top 10. Eight teams hail from the state of Florida, with six representing the Sunshine State Conference.

 

Many of the nation's strongest individual performers will be in attendance as well. The field includes 20 of the top 26 golfers in the most recent Golfstat Head-to-Head Player Standings, representing 11 different teams.

 

The strength of the field is made more evident by the teams not in attendance: Florida Southern, which has won four national championships and finished second on three occasions, was not selected to the 12-team Super Regional despite their No. 21 national ranking.

 

The top three teams after the third round will advance to the NCAA Division II National Championships in Findlay, Ohio May 17-20. The three lowest-scoring individuals not on an advancing team will also receive a berth into the NCAA Championships.

 

Participating teams:

No. 1 Barry (Fla.)

No. 2 Saint Leo (Fla.)

No. 3 Rollins (Fla.)

No. 4 Nova Southeastern (Fla.)

No. 5 Florida Tech

No. 6 Lynn (Fla.)

No. 7 West Florida

No. 8 Montevallo (Ala.)

No. 9 Lee (Tenn.)

No. 10 West Georgia

No. 11 Flagler (Fla.)

No. 12 Armstrong State (Ga.)

 

Individuals:

No. 1 Kiira Riihijarvi – Tampa (Fla.)

No. 2 Abbey Hartsell – Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.)

No. 3 Ciara Rattana – Tusculum (Tenn.)

No. 4 Ashlii Thompson – UNC Pembroke

No. 5 Elizabeth England – Carson-Newman (Tenn.)

No. 6 Marley Felthousen – Converse (S.C.)

 

The Times

First-round tee times are determined by team and individual seeding. Groups tee off in 10-minute increments, with teams' No. 5 players taking the earliest times and the No. 1 players teeing off last.

 

1st Tee

8:30-9:10 – Nova Southeastern, Florida Tech, Lynn

9:20 – Riihijarvi (Tampa), Hartsell (Lenoir-Rhyne), Rattana (Tusculum)

9:30-10:10 – Barry, Saint Leo, Rollins

 

10th Tee

8:30-9:10 – West Florida, Montevallo, Lee

9:20 – Thompson (UNC Pembroke), England (Carson-Newman), Felthousen (Converse)

9:30-10:10 – West Georgia, Flagler, Armstrong State

 

Tee times on the final two days will be based on current standings.

 

The Stats

Live scoring will be available for all three rounds through Golfstat at http://results.golfstat.com/public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=teamPlayer&tid=12851.

 

The Course

The tournament takes place in Elgin at The Members Club at Woodcreek, home of the 2022 NCAA Division II Women's Golf National Championships and next year's South Atlantic Conference Women's Golf Championship. The Members Club also serves as one of two home facilities for the University of South Carolina's golf teams.

 

The South Super Regional will be played on a 6,215-yard layout. Participants will play 54 holes over three days on the par-72 course.

 

The Significance

The South Super Regional was initially slated to be the first NCAA championship event staged at a predetermined site in South Carolina since the NCAA lifted its ban on Palmetto State sites in 2015.

 

The golf tournament ceded that distinction to Greenville in March when the NCAA relocated two rounds of its Division I Men's Basketball Championship from Greensboro, N.C. No events at predetermined sites had been staged in South Carolina since 2002.

 

The Background

Five teams and two individuals in attendance also competed in the Newberry College Regional Preview, a 12-team event hosted by Newberry at The Members Club that served as a dry run for tournament organizers before the upcoming NCAA event.

 

Florida Tech, which enters the Super Regional as the No. 5 seed, won the 36-hole event at eight strokes over par, 11 shots clear of runner up West Florida. The Panthers finished the first round in first place by one stroke at five over before firing a tournament-low 291 in the second round to pull away from the field.

 

Florida Tech teammates Brittany LaPadula and Guro Rambjoer finished in a three-way tie atop the leaderboard with West Florida's Paloma Vaccaro at one over par, three strokes ahead of the field. LaPadula won a scorecard playoff and Rambjoer took home runner-up honors.

 

Sixteen of the top 19 individuals at the Regional Preview, including each of the top 12, hailed from teams participating in the upcoming Super Regional. Third-seeded Rollins finished in third place, two shots behind West Florida, with No. 4 Nova Southeastern and No. 9 Lee finishing fourth and seventh, respectively.

 

The Teams

No. 1 Barry

Golfstat team ranking: 1

Individuals ranked in Golfstat Top 25: 2 (Tilda Larsson 2, Charlotte Puts 3)

Newberry College Regional Preview finish: N/A

Best Newberry College Regional Preview individual finish: N/A

Sunshine State Conference Championship finish: 4th (+30)

Best Sunshine State Conference Championship individual finish: Charlotte Puts – 1st (E)

 

The Buccaneers are the top-ranked team in the nation despite their youth, with three freshmen, a sophomore, and a senior in their lineup. Sophomore Tilda Larsson has broken the school records for tournament victories in a season (3) and a career (5) this season, is ranked No. 2 individually by Golfstat, and has won Sunshine State Conference Women's Golfer of the Week accolades a staggering five times this season.

 

Hot on Larsson's heels is freshman Charlotte Puts, the third-ranked player in Division II with two tournament wins of her own. She is coming off a one-stroke win at the Sunshine State Conference Championship over top-ranked Marie Coors of Saint Leo.

 

This Barry squad is the most talented group in the tenure of fifth-year head coach Shannon Sykora. The Buccaneers are making their 14th appearance in the NCAA Championships but are still searching for their elusive first Super Regional or national title.

 

Projected Lineup: Tilda Larsson, Charlotte Puts, Noemie Pare, Martina Bertuccioli, Josefina Foa Torres

 

No. 2 Saint Leo

Golfstat team ranking: 6

Individuals ranked in Golfstat Top 25: 1 (Marie Coors 1)

Newberry College Regional Preview finish: N/A

Best Newberry College Regional Preview individual finish: N/A

Sunshine State Conference Championship finish: 4th (+30)

Best Sunshine State Conference Championship individual finish: Marie Coors – 2nd (+1)

 

Second-seeded and sixth-ranked Saint Leo is making its fourth consecutive Super Regional appearance under head coach Tommy Baker and seventh overall.

 

Senior Marie Coors is the unquestioned leader of the Lions' squad. The nation's top-ranked golfer has finished seventh or better in all 10 tournaments this season with eight top-fives, a pair of wins, and 15 of her 25 rounds at or below par. Coors is the only women's golfer in Division II and one of just 26 across all levels of two- and four-year women's college golf to average under par, shooting 0.28 strokes below par per round this season.

 

She has found success at the Super Regional before, advancing to the NCAA Championships as a freshman in 2014 by earning co-medalist recognition with Ellen Chambers of eventual national champion Lynn.

 

Projected Lineup: Marie Coors, Amanda Jakobsson, Vilde Eriksen, Izzy Lawrence, Margine Arguello

 

No. 3 Rollins

Golfstat team ranking: 3

Individuals ranked in Golfstat Top 25: 3 (Lexie Toth 12, Paige Lyle 15, Seher Atwal 22)

Newberry College Regional Preview finish: 3rd (+21)

Best Newberry College Regional Preview individual finish: Selin Timur – T-6th (+4)

Sunshine State Conference Championship finish: 6th (+62)

Best Sunshine State Conference Championship individual finish: Seher Atwal – T-11th (+8)

 

Quite simply, the Tars are the most storied program in women's golf. Rollins has six of the 17 national titles since the NCAA began awarding Division II women's golf championships in 2000, including last season. Rollins put together an unprecedented run of five championships and a runner-up finish in six seasons from 2003-2008.

 

This entire run of success has been accomplished under head coach Julie Garner, whose teams have advanced to the NCAA Championships in 12 of the 14 seasons since the association adopted the current Super Regional format. Last year's squad finished second, four strokes behind Nova Southeastern, in the Super Regional prior to capturing the national title by nine shots over defending champion Indianapolis.

 

Projected Lineup: Seher Atwal, Lexie Toth, Paige Lyle, Selin Timur, Madison Lellyo

 

No. 4 Nova Southeastern

Golfstat team ranking: 5

Individuals ranked in Golfstat Top 25: 4 (Michelle Ruiz 18, Sophie Madden 21, Jamie Freedman 23, Aldana Foigel 24)

Newberry College Regional Preview finish: 4th (+23)

Best Newberry College Regional Preview individual finish: Jamie Freedman – 4th (+2)

Sunshine State Conference Championship finish: 1st (+24)

Best Sunshine State Conference Championship individual finish: Michelle Ruiz – 3rd (+5)

 

Nova Southeastern is making its 10th consecutive Super Regional appearance this season and won last year's event in Pensacola, Florida before a third-place finish in the national finals. The Sharks won each of their four championships in a four-year span from 2009-2012, bookending that stretch with a pair of runner-up finishes.

 

The Sharks are coming off a five stroke victory in the Sunshine State Conference Championship, the team's fifth conference title since 2008. They finished fourth at the Newberry College Regional Preview earlier this season and placed three golfers in the top 12.

 

Four players are ranked inside the top 25 nationally, giving Nova Southeastern the highest concentration of top-ranked golfers of any team in the field.

 

Projected Lineup: Michelle Ruiz, Aldana Foigel, Jamie Freedman, Sophie Madden, Janelle Johnson

 

No. 5 Florida Tech

Golfstat team ranking: 4

Individuals ranked in Golfstat Top 25: 2 (Brittany LaPadula 6, Paola Ortiz 11)

Newberry College Regional Preview finish: 1st (+8)

Best Newberry College Regional Preview individual finish: Brittany LaPadula*/Guro Rambjoer – T-1st (-1) *LaPadula named Individual Medalist on scorecard playoff

Sunshine State Conference Championship finish: T-2nd (+29)

Best Sunshine State Conference Championship individual finish: Paola Ortiz – T-6th (+7)

 

The Panthers are making their fifth consecutive Super Regional appearance, have two of the top 11 golfers in Division II, are coming off a second-place finish at the Sunshine State Conference Championship, and have finished in the top four in all but one of their 10 tournaments this season.  

 

Despite all these advantages, Florida Tech has something no other team in the field can boast: a win at The Members Club at Woodcreek this season.

 

The Panthers shot a tournament-low 291 in the second round to pull away from the field at the Newberry College Regional Preview Oct. 31-Nov. 1, winning by 11 shots over second-place West Florida. Brittany LaPadula won a scorecard playoff over teammate Guro Rambjoer and West Florida's Paloma Vaccaro, all three of whom finished at one under par.

 

LaPadula is a two-time second team WGCA All-American and advanced to the national finals as an individual in 2015 while playing at nearby Limestone. Rambjoer tied for 24th at the NCAA Championships that same season and has also earned second team All-American distinction twice in her career.

 

Projected Lineup: Brittany LaPadula, Paola Ortiz, Guro Rambjoer, Karolyne Shieh, Sarah Thomas

 

No. 6 Lynn

Golfstat team ranking: 10

Individuals ranked in Golfstat Top 25: 1 (Samantha Barber 19)

Newberry College Regional Preview finish: N/A

Best Newberry College Regional Preview individual finish: N/A

Sunshine State Conference Championship finish: 7th (+62)

Best Sunshine State Conference Championship individual finish: Krissy Ortiz – T-4th (+6)

 

The Fighting Knight are making their sixth consecutive NCAA appearance and 14th overall in their first full year under Karli Heimbecker, who ascended into the head coaching role midway through last season. Lynn is seeking its fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championships in the last five years after seeing a string of three straight finals berths snapped last year.

 

Lynn has earned a No. 10 national ranking this season without any tournament victories. The team's best result came in October's Saint Leo Invitational, a runner-up finish that saw the Fighting Knights place two finishers inside the top 10.

 

Projected Lineup: Krissy Ortiz, Samantha Barber, Jenny Ayala, Lucia Jimenez Martin, Helen Kreuzer

 

No. 7 West Florida

Golfstat team ranking: 11

Individuals ranked in Golfstat Top 25: 2 (Paloma Vaccaro 7, Lauren Lamm 16)

Newberry College Regional Preview finish: 2nd (+19)

Best Newberry College Regional Preview individual finish: Paloma Vaccaro – T-1st (-1)

Gulf South Conference Championship finish: 3rd (+60)

Best Gulf South Conference Championship individual finish: Lauren Lamm – 4th (+8)

 

Paloma Vaccaro finished in a three-way tie for first with a pair of Florida Tech competitors at the Newberry College Regional Preview earlier this season, finishing third overall in a scorecard playoff. She finished at one under with a tournament-low 69 in the first round. No other golfers shot below a 71 during the two rounds of play. She helped West Florida to a second-place finish.

 

Vaccaro is one of two Argonauts ranked in the top 16 nationally and was an individual qualifier for the NCAA finals when West Florida hosted last season's Super Regional. Sixteenth-ranked Lauren Lamm has battled a foot injury all season and has played in bare feet at times this season to help relieve pain.

 

The Argonauts are making their 10th overall Super Regional appearance and fifth straight under head coach Bryan Clarke. They are seeking their first-ever team or individual national championship.

 

Projected Lineup: Paloma Vaccaro, Lauren Lamm, Fabiana Salazar, Kayla Smith, Kellie Kan

 

No. 8 Montevallo

Golfstat team ranking: 17

Individuals ranked in Golfstat Top 25: 2 (Arin Eddy 13, Elaine Wood 14)

Newberry College Regional Preview finish: N/A

Best Newberry College Regional Preview individual finish: N/A

Peach Belt Conference Championship finish: 2nd (+35)

Best Peach Belt Conference Championship individual finish: Arin Eddy – 1st (+3)

 

Montevallo is back in the postseason after earning the school's first-ever Super Regional appearance a season ago. The Falcons are coming off a runner-up finish at the Peach Belt Conference Championships. The duo of Arin Eddy and Elaine Wood, ranked 13th and 14th, respectively, in Division II, provides a formidable tandem atop the Falcons' lineup.

 

Eddy is the Peach Belt Conference Golfer of the Year and is appearing in the Super Regional for the third straight year, qualifying as an individual in 2015 before last season's team appearance. She is a transfer from Division I Samford.

 

Wood qualified for the NCAA Championships as an individual last season, becoming Montevallo's second-ever individual qualifier and first since 2011. She was a two-time defending PBC Golfer of the Year before being supplanted by Eddy this season and also took home Freshman of the Year honors in 2014. Montevallo golf is a family affair for Wood: she followed in her father's footsteps by playing for the Falcons, while younger brother Charles competes for the men's team.

 

Projected Lineup: Arin Eddy, Elaine Wood, Emily Romkey, Kirstie Saltiel, Lacy Sheldon

 

No. 9 Lee

Golfstat team ranking: 14

Individuals ranked in Golfstat Top 25: 1 (Sam Burrus 20)

Newberry College Regional Preview finish: T-7th (+47)

Best Newberry College Regional Preview individual finish: Sam Burrus – T-15th (+8)

Gulf South Conference Championship finish: 2nd (+53)

Best Gulf South Conference Championship individual finish: Haverly Harrold/Anne Hedegaard/Sam Burrus – T-8th (+14)

 

The Flames are making quite a splash in the Division II women's golfing world, qualifying for the postseason in both of their seasons as full NCAA Division II members.

 

Lee is one of the hottest teams in the nation entering the postseason. The Flames won each of their first three events of the spring and finished second in their two since. They closed out their fall schedule with a seventh-place finish at the Newberry College Regional Preview.

 

Juniors Sam Burrus and Caroline Moore both earned first team all-Gulf South Conference accolades this season. Annika Gino, Anne Hedegaard, and Haverly Harrold are ranked by Golfstat as the nation's No. 3 freshman class and give the Flames a well-rounded lineup. Gino and Hedegaard were both second-team all-conference selections, while Harrold earned GSC Freshman of the Month honors in March.

 

Burrus is known for more than just her golfing ability. The team's top-ranked player also served as the president of Lee's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, taking leading roles in service projects and fundraisers that collected over $11,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation this academic year.

 

Projected Lineup: Sam Burrus, Caroline Moore, Anne Hedegaard, Haverly Harrold, Annika Gino

 

No. 10 West Georgia

Golfstat team ranking: 16

Individuals ranked in Golfstat Top 25: 1 (Franziska Bremm 8)

Newberry College Regional Preview finish: N/A

Best Newberry College Regional Preview individual finish: N/A

Gulf South Conference Championship finish: 1st (+39)

Best Gulf South Conference Championship individual finish: Taylor Sarratt/Maria Torres – T-2nd (+7)

 

West Georgia is making its first-ever NCAA postseason appearance after a 14-stroke victory in the Gulf South Conference Championship, the first league title for either Wolves' golf program.

 

Two-time defending GSC Golfer of the Year Franziska Bremm is ranked eighth in the latest Golfstat individual rankings. She landed in fifth at the GSC Championship to give the Wolves three members of the all-tournament team, with Taylor Sarratt and Maria Torres finishing deadlocked in second.

 

Projected Lineup: Franziska Bremm, Maria Torres, Taylor Sarratt, Jordan Daniel, Lola Uribe

 

No. 11 Flagler

Golfstat team ranking: 15

Individuals ranked in Golfstat Top 25: 0 (Lara Ardler ranked No. 26)

Newberry College Regional Preview finish: N/A

Best Newberry College Regional Preview individual finish: N/A

Peach Belt Conference Championship finish: 1st (+29)

Best Peach Belt Conference Championship individual finish: Natalia Azcue – T-2nd (+4)

 

The Saints enter the Super Regional as the nation's 15th-ranked team following a six-stroke victory at the Peach Belt Conference Championship. Flagler captured its second conference title and first since the inaugural PBC Championship in 2010.

 

Natalie Azcue and Pauline Tainton each earned all-tournament team honors by finishing second and fifth, respectively, while Miranda Greene and Linn Weber's twin eighth-place finishes gave Flagler four golfers inside the top 10. Greene, a sophomore, has one of the more interesting golfing backgrounds in the tournament: She was the first female golfer in Bellbrook (Ohio) High School history and lettered all four years on the boys' team.

 

Projected Lineup: Lara Ardler, Miranda Greene, Linn Weber, Natalia Azcue, Pauline Tainton

 

No. 12 Armstrong State

Golfstat team ranking: 19

Individuals ranked in Golfstat Top 25: 0 (Sophie Bargeron ranked No. 34)

Newberry College Regional Preview finish: N/A

Best Newberry College Regional Preview individual finish: N/A

Peach Belt Conference Championship finish: 7th (+95)

Best Peach Belt Conference Championship individual finish: Nikita Arjun – 10th (+11)

 

Armstrong State enters the Super Regional with a collective heavy heart. The University System of Georgia announced unexpectedly in January that Armstrong State would merge with Georgia Southern University this summer, creating a GSU branch campus in Savannah and ending the autonomy of an institution founded in 1935. Armstrong State's softball team is likely to make the postseason while both of its tennis teams have advanced to the Round of 16. The Pirates' athletics portfolio will close at the conclusion of the spring sports calendar.

 

On the course, the Pirates have advanced to the postseason in four of the past five seasons but have never moved on to the NCAA Championships as a team. Assistant Coach Jenna Wylie, then known as Jenna Birch, became the first Pirate to advance to the national finals as an individual in 2012, with Kristen Sammarco repeating the feat one year later.

 

Nikita Arjun, Armstrong State's top finisher at the PBC Championships, played for nearby Spartanburg Methodist College as a freshman, where she finished seventh at the NJCAA National Championships, before transferring to Armstrong State prior to her sophomore year. She also trained at the International Junior Golf Academy near Hilton Head.

 

Projected Lineup: Sophie Bargeron, Nikita Arjun, Megan Sabol, Eva Martinez Calavia, Bailey Buie

 

The Individuals

No. 1 Kiira Riihijarvi (Tampa)

Golfstat ranking: 43

Newberry College Regional Preview finish: N/A

Sunshine State Conference Championship finish: 40th (+27)

Tournament wins: 0

 

Now in its sixth season of intercollegiate competition, the University of Tampa had never seen a team or individual advance to the postseason before Riihijarvi's standout season. The freshman's scoring average is the best in Spartans' history by over three strokes and she has two top-10 finishes to her credit.

 

No. 2 Abbey Hartsell (Lenoir-Rhyne)

Golfstat ranking: 39

Newberry College Regional Preview finish: N/A

South Atlantic Conference Championship finish: 2nd (-1)

Tournament wins: 2

 

Abbey Hartsell becomes Lenoir-Rhyne's first NCAA postseason participant in 14 years with her selection into the South Super Regional field. A sophomore, Hartsell was named this year's South Atlantic Conference Golfer of the year, is a two-time first team all-SAC selection, and led the Bears to their first league title since 2003. She won a pair of tournaments this season.

 

No. 3 Ciara Rattana (Tusculum)

Golfstat ranking: 60

Newberry College Regional Preview finish: T-25th (+12)

South Atlantic Conference Championship finish: T-3rd (+10)

Tournament wins: 0

 

The Pioneers' standout junior becomes the third player in Tusculum history to qualify for an NCAA Super Regional, following in the footsteps of Rachel McFarland (2003) and Emee Herbert (2013). The three-time all-SAC performer has never won a tournament in her career but owns the best single-season stroke average in school history, the second-lowest career mark, finished in the top 20 nine times, and has played all but four of her 23 rounds this season in the 70's.

 

Longtime coach Bob Dibble, a 20-year Tusculum coaching veteran that started the Pioneers' women's golf program, will retire at the conclusion of this season.

 

No. 4 Ashlii Thompson (UNC Pembroke)

Golfstat ranking: 53

Newberry College Regional Preview finish: N/A

Peach Belt Conference Championship finish: 12th (+13)

Tournament wins: 1

 

Thompson, a senior, is making her third career appearance in the Super Regional and gives UNC Pembroke at least one player in the postseason for the sixth time in the last seven years. She finished 42nd as a freshman and 51st last season representing the Braves as an individual.

 

No. 5 Elizabeth England (Carson-Newman)

Golfstat ranking: 61

Newberry College Regional Preview finish: T-50th (+16)

South Atlantic Conference Championship finish: 1st (-2)

Tournament wins: 3

 

England, a junior, has been named all-South Atlantic Conference on three occasions. She claimed arguably the biggest win of her career last month at the SAC Championships, giving her three tournament wins on the season and helping clinch Carson-Newman's first individual selection to an NCAA Super Regional since 2012.

 

No. 6 Marley Felthousen (Converse)

Golfstat ranking: 100

Newberry College Regional Preview finish: N/A

Conference Carolinas Championship finish: T-5th (+7)

Tournament wins: 1

 

Marley Felthousen is continuing a spectacular four-year career for the Valkyries weeks after being named the school's first Conference Carolinas Player of the Year selection in any sport. She has been named all-conference and academic all-conference in each of her four seasons in Spartanburg.

 

The three-time Conference Carolinas Golfer of the Month placed in the top 10 in nine of her 11 tournaments and won the 2017 Converse Spring Invitational on her way to becoming the school's Baye Williamson Student-Athlete of the Year. Her Super Regional selection is the first in the five-year history of the Valkyries' program.