D2 women’s regional notes: Indy senior class completes sweep

Division II women’s golf postseason got underway with four regionals staged across the country May 3-5 (the West Regional was scheduled for May 4-6). The top three teams at each site advanced to the national championship, to be played May 13-16 at the Meadows Golf Course in Allendale, Mich. Here how’s each regional unfolded:

NCAA Division II Women’s East Regional

May 3-5, Cog Hill G&CC, Lemont, Ill.

Final scores

The word Brent Nicoson used to describe the feat accomplished Tuesday by his determined Indianapolis senior class was powerful. Unprecedented. The Greyhounds completed the sweep at their NCAA regional in Chicago – this senior class has claimed a regional title each of the past four years.

“They got together this morning and said keep it very simple and solid,” Nicoson said of his team’s pre-round meeting. That translated to a 13-shot victory, which is more than solid.

Only senior Chanice Young was in the lineup for this year’s regional title, but Nicoson said all three members of his senior class have been in the top 5 to experience one. Indianapolis entered regional play ranked No. 8 by Golfstat. This is a team that won seven times before reaching regionals.

Not only have the Greyhounds won four consecutive regional titles, but they’ve also claimed the Great Lakes Valley Conference title each of the past four years. Safe to say that on Tuesday, this regional title was hardly unexpected.

As for what’s next, Nicoson says he’s trying not to think too much about it, and hopes his team takes the same attitude. The Greyhounds now face a 12-team national-championship field. In Division II women’s golf history, no team outside the Sunshine State Conference (in Florida) has ever won the NCAA title. Indianapolis is looking at an advantage as it chases its first.

The national championship will be played in at the Meadows Golf Course in Allendale, Mich., and Nicoson’s players know that area of the country.

“We’re excited for it to be in the Midwest,” he said. While teams from the North and Midwest frequently travel south looking for tough competition, southern teams rarely travel north.

Not only has an Indianapolis women’s golf team never won a national title, no Indianapolis varsity team has ever won one. It would be something special to bring home to a trophy case that Nicoson’s team visited at the beginning of the school year, just to note the missing element.

“We just want to have a chance the last day of nationals,” Nicoson said.

In addition to Indianapolis, Ashland and Findlay also advanced to the national championship. Grand Valley State, the team that will host the finals, was two shots short of advancing.

• • •

NCAA Division II Women’s South Regional

May 3-5, Savannah Quarters GC, Pooler, Ga.

Final scores

As Julie Garner will tell you, teams in the South Region in Division II women’s golf can never breathe a sigh of relief until regional play is finished. Garner’s Rollins team is safely into the national championship – along with Nova Southeastern and Lynn – but the Tars have been on the outside looking in before. This regional field includes seven of the top 10 teams in Golfstat’s ranking.

“The South Region is a really tough region to get out of,” Garner said. “It’s almost more nerve-wracking than being at the championship.”

Rollins, the top-ranked team in the nation, seemingly advanced very easily, finishing 16 shots ahead of runner-up Lynn. It was still an up-and-down week. Rollins cruised to 4-under 284 at Savannah Quarters in Round 1, stumbled in Round 2 and opened without a spark on the final round. The team combined for nine birdies over the final nine, however, holes to pull away and win the regional.

Based on live scoring, Garner says Rollins’ lead shrunk to three shots early in the final round, causing Tar supporters to squirm. Garner’s message to her players was one of reassurance. After all, Rollins only needed a top-3 finish to advance to the national championship.

They produced so much more.

“Three under on that back nine with the wind blowing and the greens drying out was really something,” Garner said.

Junior Annie Dulman was responsible for a good chunk of the back-nine charge. She birdied three of her final four holes, including the 18th. Dulman knew she had to hole a 10-foot left-to-right breaker for birdie there in order to tie for medalist honors, and she put it right in the center of the hole.

Attribute part of Rollins’ fierce play to very detailed yardage books for Savannah Quarters. Garner had tapped Mallory Hetzel, head coach at Western Carolina, for a few course notes after Hetzel took her team there for the Southern Conference Championship last month. That advice was key considering Armstrong hosted a preview earlier in the year that Rollins wasn’t able to attend because it conflicted with the Tars’ home event.

“It really got us off to a good start in our practice,” Garner said.

The national championship will be played at the Meadows Course in Allendale, Mich., which is where Rollins won the national title in 2006. It’s one of five national crowns the Tar team owns, but the last came in 2008.

• • •

NCAA Division II Women’s Central Regional

Hillcrest CC, Bartlesville, Okla.

Final scores

Augustana (S.D.) won its fourth regional title in program history on Tuesday, and will advance to the NCAA Championship for the seventh time. The Vikings were able to hold off Arkansas Tech, finishing at the top of the leaderboard with a seven-shot cushion. Augustana, ranked No. 24 by Golfstat, led after every round. Freshman Sierra Langlie led the Vikings, and also claimed the individual title.

With its second-place finish, Arkansas Tech also qualified for the national championship for just the second time in history and the second time in a row. The Golden Suns will keep alive a season during which they won four times, including at the Golfweek Division II Fall Invitational.

Central Oklahoma was the third team to advance from the Central Region.

• • •

NCAA Division II Women’s West Regional

May 4-6, Foxtail GC, Rohnert Park, Calif.

Final scores

Sonoma State was leap-frogged in the final round of the West Regional, but at this point in the season, it doesn’t particularly matter. The Seawolves began the final round in first place, slipped to third by the end of the final round, but still will play the national championship later this month. It will be Sonoma State’s first appearance since 2010.

Tarleton State used a final-round 7-over 295 to surge to the top of the leaderboard, winning the regional title and also a berth in the championship. St. Edward’s, which finished third, also advances.

Perhaps the most excitement came in the individual race. Midwestern State’s Brenna Moore and Academy of Art’s Crystal Wang tied for medalist honors, and both qualified for the NCAA Championship as players on non-advancing teams. The third such spot was decided in a playoff between Colorado State Pueblo’s Hee-Leina Kim and Dallas Baptist’s Sydney Williams. Kim won with a birdie.

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