Women’s golf wins Wittenberg Invitational

With high winds and a challenging golf course, the women’s golf team took first while the men placed third in the Wittenberg Invitational last weekend.

Lauren Hammell, ’12, led the women’s team and finished in second place.

“I really can’t complain,” Hammell said. “Besides you can’t control the weather.”

Hannah Schonau-Taylor, ’11, finished tied for fifth while Liz Blyth, ’13, tied for seventh.

Though not playing on the Allegheny A-team, Abby Sorensen, ’12, finished at the top among individuals with fourth place.

“The mindset was to go out there post a good score, post a good team score and try to get us a little closer to making it to nationals,” Hammell said.

Because the women’s golf team does not play in a conference, they are entered into a pool of teams, six of which will receive an at-large bid to go to the NCAA Championships.

The NCAA Championships drive the women’s team all season to do well, said head coach Jeff Groff.

“Every round now since we teed it up in the fall counts. At the end of the year, hopefully that’s good enough to get us in,” Groff said.  “I think we did well enough this season that I think we have a good chance to get that bid to nationals.”

Next year, however, there will be enough teams to have the first women’s golf NCAC Championships. Potential teams for this conference were present at the Wittenberg “Sneak Preview” Invitational.

The women’s team was just ranked 12th in the latest Golf World/National Golf Coaches Association Division III Coaches Poll.

After the third conference tournament of the year, the men remain third in the North Athletic Coast Conference.

After day one of the tournament, the Gators were in second place but were surpassed by Ohio Wesleyan on day two. Wittenberg won the tournament, further solidifying their number one conference spot.

The Gators finished with a “solid” third place, Groff said.

After leading on day one, Mike Flickinger, ’12, finished tied for fourth. He was a “little bit disappointed” on how they ended.

“I think the second day is what killed us,” he said. “We didn’t have the low numbers that the other teams did. It wasn’t as windy and we just didn’t get it done.”

Matt Donahoe, ’12, improved on the second day to finish one stroke behind Flickinger and tied for sixth.

Now, they’ll go into the final tournament sitting third in the conference.

“Going into last event, barring any truly major collapse by the leaders or two really great rounds by us, we’ll be third,” Groff said. “It’d be tough to make up the difference of strokes.”

But the Gators still look to win the event, especially Flickinger.

“When we play together as a team, we can shoot really low numbers,” he said. “I feel as a team we have the talent and ability to win these tournaments.”

The men’s team will play three rounds beginning May 1 at the Kenyon Invitational for the final tournament in the NCAC Championship Series. The next tournament for the women’s team at Seton Hill was cancelled so they will wait until May 3 to find out whether they are the recipient of a bid to go to nationals.