April 11, 2012

Campbell wins Big South Women's Golf Championship

NINETY SIX, S.C. – With all five individuals among the top 13 golfers, Campbell won the 2012 Big South Conference women's golf championship following Wednesday's final round at The Patriot Golf Club.

Four Camels finished among the first eight individuals and top-seeded Campbell (294-300-296—890) defeated second-seeded Coastal Carolina (298-297-301—896) by six strokes.

Campbell sophomore Kaylin Yost – the Big South player of the year – tied for second individually (73-72-76—221), while senior Michelle Koh finished fourth (71-76-75—222). 

Freshman Lisbeth Brooks (78-75-74—227) was seventh and junior Teresa Urquizu eighth (72-84-72—228) for the Camels, who won their 11th league title in 21 seasons under the direction of head coach John Crooks.

"It was extremely stressful, but extremely satisfying as well," said Crooks, whose team led the event wire-to-wire, but held only a one-stroke edge over Coastal entering Wednesday's final round.  "Sixteen was a water hole that caused problems throughout the tournament, but we made it through that fine and our ladies closed like champions."

Brittany Henderson of Coastal Carolina (75-68-71—214) was the lone player in the field to finish in red numbers and claimed the individual medal.  Teammate Frida Castillo (76-72-73—221) tied with Yost for runner-up honors.

Urquizu, who hails from San Sebastian, Spain, produced the 2nd-lowest round of the day and earned a spot on the all-conference team along with Yost, Koh and Brooks.  Urquizu finished the 54-hole event 1-under on the par-3 holes, tied for the best score in the 50-player field.

Campbell produced Big South titles in 1993 and 1994 before winning 8 championships as a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference (from 1995-2011).  Not only did Campbell secure its first league trophy since claiming the 2007 Atlantic Sun title exactly five years ago to the day, but CU earned the Big South's automatic bid to the NCAA Regional Championship.

The Camels will play in one of three NCAA Regional events May 10-12 (hosted by Penn State, Ohio State and Colorado).  The NCAA Championship is May 22-25 at the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn.

Wednesday's triumph marked the 64th women's tournament win for Crooks, who stands just one victory behind Linda Vollstedt of Arizona State (65 from 1980-2001) on the all-time NCAA Division I women's golf tourney coaching victories list.

Since 1992, Campbell has finished either first (11 times) or second (8) in its league championship 19 times in the last 21 seasons.

A freshman from Ona, W.Va., Bellomy birdied three of the last five holes to move up to a 13th-place tie.  She played the par-fives at 2-under for the event, 6th-best in the field.  The performance marked her fourth top-20 finish in nine outings during 2011-12.

Urquizu, who hails from San Sebastian, Spain, produced the 2nd-lowest round of the day and earned a spot on the all-conference team along with Yost, Koh and Brooks.  Urquizu finished the 54-hole event 1-under on the par-3 holes, tied for the best score in the 50-player field, and claimed her 3rd top-10 finish of the year.

 "At the end when the all-conference team was announced and four Camels were on there, but not Brooke Bellomy," said Crooks, the 2012 Big South coach of the year.  "However, Brooke birdied 17 and 18 and put a great score up there to start us off today.  Our entire team played well.  We haven't thrown out a 76 (only the top four scores of the five players count toward the team total) too often."

Yost, a native of Pembroke Pines, Fla., produced her fifth top-10 individual showing (and fourth top-5) in the last seven tournaments.  Over 54 holes, she made 9 birdies (2nd only to Henderson's 12 in the field) and 32 pars, while playing the par-four holes at 5-over (2nd again behind Henderson's +3).

Koh, the team's lone senior who placed third in the 2011 Atlantic Sun Championship, led this year's Big South field in par-5 scoring (6-under) and had 35 pars plus 9 birdies in 54 holes.  Her 4th-place finish marked the 6th time the Kuantan, Malaysia native has been among the top 10 individuals in 11 tournaments this year.

The 2012 Big South freshman of the year, Brooks led the field with 38 pars, including 12 on Wednesday.  The Waunakee, Wisc., native played the par-3 holes even throughout the tournament, second behind only Urquizu and Jade Okamoto of Radford.

Brooks' 7th-place finish was her best of the year and 2nd-straight top-10 showing.  She was 8th in last month's John Kirk Lady Panther Intercollegiate.

"It was a hard golf course," said Crooks of the par-72, 6009-yard Patriot layout, "and a very well-run golf tournament.  In all my years of coaching, I don't think my ladies have had a better championship experience."

Big South Women's Golf Championship
Ninety Six, S.C. / The Patriot GC
Apr. 9-11, 2012 / Par 72, 6009 Yards

Final Team Results: 1. Campbell 294-300-296—890
, 2. Coastal Carolina 298-297-301—896, 3. Gardner-Webb 307-304-310—921, 4. Charleston Southern 321-309-308—938, 5. Winthrop 313-306-320—939, 6. Radford 310-314-317—941, 7. Bucknell 320-311-320—951, 8. High Point 314-317-325—956, 9. Presbyterian 318-307-336—961, 10. Holy Cross 395-382-397—1174.

Final Individual Leaders: 1. Brittany Henderson (Coastal Carolina) 75-68-71—214, T2. Frida Castillo (Coastal Carolina) 76-72-73—221, T2. Kaylin Yost (Campbell) 73-72-76—221, 4. Michelle Koh (Campbell) 71-76-75—222, 5. Hannah Hellyer (Gardner-Webb) 77-74-74—225.

Other Campbell Individuals: 7. Lisbeth Brooks 78-75-74—227, 8. Teresa Urquizu 72-84-72—228, T13. Brooke Bellomy 82-77-75—234.

2012 Big South All-Conference Team
(1st five determined by vote of league coaches, remaining by tournament finish)
Kaylin Yost, Soph., Campbell (Player of the Year)
Brittany Henderson, Jr., Coastal Carolina
Michelle Koh, Sr., Campbell
Kaitlin Higginbotham, Sr., Coastal Carolina
Lisbeth Brooks, Fr., Campbell (Freshman of the Year)
Frida Castillo, Fr., Coastal Carolina
Hannah Hellyer, Jr., Gardner-Webb
Jessica Alexander, Jr., Coastal Carolina
Teresa Urquizu, Jr., Campbell
Jade Okamoto, Sr., Radford
Rachel Wyatt, Fr., Winthrop

Coach of the Year: John Crooks (Campbell)