By Chris Raimondi, Sports Editor
After capturing the Atlantic Sun Conference title by 30 strokes, Kennesaw State women’s golf team is geared up to make a run at the NCAA regional tournament beginning May 7.
The Owls won the A-Sun tournament with an eight-over par 872, 30 shots ahead of the second place North Florida Ospreys who shot a 902.
With the conference title, KSU will head to regionals where they have a shot at advancing to the national tournament.
“We knew we were borderline to get a bid to postseason, I think we would have been fine, but to cement it and have a month’s worth of practice while everyone else is battling it out trying to make postseason is really advantageous,” KSU head coach Rhyll Brinsmead said. “We’re pushing for nationals. It’s your last chance and you put it all on the line, and I think that’s why we played so well. That’s why we didn’t stop at our 16-shot lead (at the A-Sun tournament). We wanted to cement our place (in regionals).”
Brinsmead stated her team is expected to be in nationals, given their experience playing other top opponents this season.
“We’ve proved this semester that we can compete with the best,” she said. “We beat Florida State, we tied Texas A&M, they just won the SEC Championship, and we were one-shot back of Mississippi State when they were ranked ninth in the nation. We finished fifth at the Florida State tournament and I told the team ‘This is a regional field, and we would be going through to nationals.’ So it shouldn’t be a fluke. This group is expecting to go through to nationals.”
KSU finished one-two-three in the individual standings at the A-Sun championship with sophomore Dulcie Sverdloff leading as the low-medalist, shooting a one-under par 215. Ines Lescudier was runner up and Laura Estefenn finished third.
“Anytime you can win a conference championship by one or 30 shots, it’s a great achievement,” Brinsmead said. “It was probably the most relaxed I’ve been in 18 years of coaching. For something so important, to just sit back and enjoy it, it was really special.”
“I thought I shot well, but not in the prettiest way,” Sverdloff said. “For the team to win by 30, I couldn’t have had a better week. I think as a team we worked together the best we have the whole season.”
The Owls put four players in the top five as senior Kaew Preamchuen finished in a tie for ninth with a 10-over par 226.