LAKELAND, Fla. – The 10th-ranked Saint Leo women's golf team put the wraps on a memorable 2010-11 season on Tuesday as they carded a final round 310 to finish sixth in the NCAA Regional Tournament contested at The Club at Eaglebrooke and hosted by Florida Southern College.
As a team, the Lions carded a three-round 930 (306-314-310) and finished eight strokes behind fifth-place Belmont Abbey in the nine-team tournament.
Nova Southeastern won the tournament for the fourth year in a row, finishing 13 shots ahead of Rollins, and 17 ahead of Florida Southern. It's also the fourth year in a row those three schools have claimed the top three spots in the South Region Tournament. All three will move on to the Division II National Tournament.
Individually, junior Goeun Lee may have previewed what will come next year as she finished tops in the Saint Leo lineup posting a three round 78-78-74—230. She finished 20th overall and was just three strokes shy of an individual bid for the national tournament, awarded to the top three individual finishers on non-qualifying teams.
Playing in her final tournament of her collegiate career, Elaine Evans Spirit of Saint Leo Award winner Jordan Hatch was two strokes and two spots shy of the team's top spot as she finished 22nd overall and carded a three round 75-78-79—232.
Finishing her first season in Green and Gold, and sandwiched between the two seniors, Sunshine State Conference Freshman of the YearHeather Petronis finished in 25th and posted a 75-81-78—234.
Suzanne Ervin, also playing in her final tournament for Saint Leo and concluding her two-year career as a Lion, finished 37th overall and fourth on the team with a 84-77-79—240 total.
Rounding out the lineup for SLU was Tricia Maloney, who ends her junior year with a 78-83-84—245 to finish 43rd.
Nova Southeastern's winning score of 875 (+11) was the best in the 10-year history of the South/Southeast Super Regional Tournament. Rollins had the previous record with a +13 in 2005. The Sharks were very consistent from start to finish, with a 291 in round one, a 294 in round two, and a 290 in the final round. The Tars were even better (295-298-295).
Nova Southeastern's Sandra Changkija claimed regional medalist honors for the third time in her career. She previously won in 2008 and 2009, and was the runner-up to Joanna Coe last year. While Nova set a new team scoring record in the tournament, Changkija set a new individual record with a two-under par 214. That's one stroke better than the previous mark set by Charlotte Campbell of Rollins in 2005, and matched by Coe in 2009, and Changkija last year.
The senior from Orlando began the day with a 5-stroke lead over Coe and Fabia Rothenfluh of Rollins, and never lost the lead, even after a bogey on three of her first four holes. Rothenfluh got as close as one stroke when Changkija had a double bogey on 13, but birdies of 17 and 18 allowed Changkija to win by three strokes and set the new individual scoring record in the process.
The NCAA Division II National Tournament runs next Wednesday through Saturday, May 11-14, in Allendale, Michigan. The tournament will be played at The Meadows, hosted by Grand Valley State.