Women's Golf Spring Outlook: Camels return to action Sunday at Kiawah Island

Women's Golf Spring Outlook: Camels return to action Sunday at Kiawah Island

Campbell University's golf programs will seek to continue the success they enjoyed in the Atlantic Sun Conference when the Camels return to Big South Conference competition this spring.

Under the direction of John Crooks, who has guided his teams to 107 tournament victories and 15 conference titles in two decades, the Camels look to return to the top of the Big South leader board and NCAA post-season competition this spring.

The Campbell women open their spring campaign Feb. 26-28 in the Edwin Watts Kiawah Island Classic at Cougar Point Golf Club.

Campbell won both the 1993 and 1994 Big South men's and women's titles before departing the league for the Atlantic Sun Conference.  While a member of the A-Sun, Campbell claimed a record eight women's conference titles and a pair of men's championships, most recently in 2009.

The Camels opened the 2011 fall season with a combined men's and women's championship at the Golfweek Program Challenge.  After the men won their 12-school stroke play tournament and the women finished third in their event, seniors Mitch Gray and Michelle Koh combined to claim a sudden-death alternating stroke playoff against East Carolina.

That championship propelled both teams to success throughout the fall season.  The men also won the Wendy's Kiawah Classic and finished among the top four schools in each of their outings.

Campbell's women claimed a pair of tournament titles – the LPGA International Xavier Invitational and their own Fighting Camel Classic – during the fall campaign.

The Big South Women's (Apr. 9-11) and Men's (Apr. 16-18) Championships will both be held at The Patriot Golf Club in Ninety-Six, S.C.

Led by a balanced lineup that features a senior, junior, sophomore and two freshmen among its top five, Campbell entered the spring season ranked 58th nationally in the Golfstat NCAA head-to-head ratings, tops among all Big South schools.

Campbell capped the fall season by winning its home event for the 13th time, including the last four in succession.

With his 63rd women's career tournament coaching win, John Crooks moved into sole possession of fifth place on the all-time Division I women's list. A National Golf Coaches Association Hall of Famer, Crooks stands 2nd behind Dan Brooks of Duke, who has amassed 110 career titles, on the active NCAA Division I women's coaching victories list.

Now in his 21st year as head coach of the Campbell women's program and 22nd in charge of the Campbell men, Crooks has totaled 107 career men's and women's coaching triumphs, including four during the 2011 fall season.

Crooks' women's teams have claimed at least one tournament title in 20 of his 21 years in charge of the program.

Three different Camels were named Big South women's golfer of the week during the fall season – Brooke Bellomy (Sept. 30), Michelle Kohn (Oct. 28) and Teresa Urquizu (Nov. 2) 

Urquizu matched her best collegiate finish with her runner-up finish (Oct. 31-Nov. 1) at the Fighting Camel Fall Classic (73-74-72—219) with seven birdies to help Campbell win its second tournament of the fall season.  Her 54-hole total was the second-best in the tournament's history.

Campbell earned a 21-stroke victory over runner-up Illinois, which came into the tourney ranked 47th in the country.

Five Camels ranked among the top nine Big South players in stroke average entering the spring campaign.

Freshman Brooke Bellomy (Ona, W.Va.) owns a 75.5 stroke average, fourth in the league, followed by senior Michelle Koh (Kuantan, Malaysia) at 75.75.

Urquizu owns a 76.0 stroke average, 7th-best in the Big South, followed by freshman Lisbeth Brooks (Waunakee, Wisc.) at 76.06 and sophomore Kaylin Yost (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) at 76.08.

Koh produced four top-10 individual finishes in six tournaments during the fall season, including a runner-up showing at the Xavier LPGA Invitational.  Urquizu and Yost both had a pair of top-10s during the fall.

Last year, Koh was named to the Atlantic Sun all-conference second team and earned A-Sun all-tournament honors by finishing third in the league tournament.  Yost was an A-Sun all-freshman team choice, who tied for seventh at the conference event.

Sophomore Maria Jose Benavides (Lerma, Mexico) produced a 78.8 stroke average in two fall events, while freshman Johanne Svendsen (Roskilde, Denmark) generated an 80.6 average in four tournaments.

Sophomore Ali Prazak (St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands) and freshman Babette Lemberger (Vienna, Austria) will also compete for playing time.