Friday, April 10, 2009
MACON, Ga. (April 11, 2009) - One year after winning its first A-Sun Women's Golf Championship in its backyard, ETSU will lead a field of ten at the 2009 Championship when play begins on Monday from Victoria Hills Golf Club in DeLand, Fla.
After back-to-back runner-up finishes in its first two A-Sun Women's Golf Championships, ETSU broke through on its home course, The Ridges Golf and Country Club, to win its first title as a member of the A-Sun. The Buccaneers feature a strong class of experienced players, highlighted by the defending champion, Laura Jansone. In 2008 as a sophomore, Jansone held off Belmont's Lorie Warren and Campbell's Belen Diaz Cisneros by a single shot, becoming the fourth straight medalist to also be part of the team title. Teammates Sinead O'Sullivan and Lucy Gould, both top-10 performers last April, return to attempt a repeat. Eight times a defending team champion has won the next year, most recently accomplished by Campbell in 2006 and 2007. Four individuals have captured back-to-back titles with Campbell's Alejandra Shaw, also in 2006 and 2007, the last to do so.
Campbell, the most successful women's golf program in league history will try for its ninth title in its 15 years in the conference. Only once, in 2003, have the Camels finished outside the top two and also only once, 1999 and 2000, have the Camels gone consecutive seasons without a team title. Belen Diaz Cisneros, last years runner-up and a two-time All-Atlantic Sun Second Team performer leads the squad that also features Mary Mattson, 10th in 2008 and Sandra Angulo, the 2008 Freshman of the Year.
Each of the last two champions, Campbell in 2007 and ETSU in 2008, have won as the the host of the event. Campbell also won as the host in 2004. Prior to 2004, no host had won the Women's Championship since UCF in 1990. The Hatters have turned in back-to-back fourth-place finishes, their best finishes at the A-Sun Championship in fields of at least eight teams. This season, the Hatters have picked up a pair of team victories as well as two second-place showings. The Hatters claimed the team title at the Holiday Inn Express Hatter Fall Classic, played at Victoria Hils, defeating three other A-Sun teams, Mercer, Jacksonville and USC Upstate. Stetson's Danielle Jackson captured the medalist honors.
Belmont's Lorie Warren, the 2008 Atlantic Sun Player of the Year, helped the Bruins to their best-ever finish, third at last year's event. During her four years with the Bruins, she has picked up five Golfer of the Month awards, including two in the fall of 2008. In addition to her Player of the Year honor, she won the Tennessee State Amateur during the summer, becoming the first Bruin to win a state amateur title of any kind.
The field for the Women's Golf Championship will expand to its largest since 2005 as Kennesaw State, FGCU and USC Upstate will all compete for the title for the first time since joining the league. All three are still completing the four-year transition to Division I so should any of these three schools win the team event, the highest finishing, eligible, team would earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAAs.
Each of the last two A-Sun Championships has featured at least one hole-in-one. At the 2007 Atlantic Sun Golf Championship, Stacey Linduska of Gardner-Webb scored a hole-in-one on the par-3, 145-yard third hole on the morning of the final round. Later in the day, Laura Jansone of ETSU aced the par-3, 180-yard 14th hole. Last year, Lorie Warren dialed up the right distance in holing out from 140 yards on the seventh hole of The Ridges Golf and Country Club during the first round.
For the second time in A-Sun history, Victoria Hills Country Club will serve as the host for the Women's Championship. The site also hosted in 2005. The course earned 4 1/2 stars from Golf Digest Magazine and was named as One of Golf Magazine's "Top 10 You Can Play". Victoria Hills has served as a US Open and Senior US Open Sectional Qualifying site.
As part of a multi-year agreement with the Central Florida Sports Commission, the Women's Championship will remain in The Sunshine State through 2012. Venetian Bay Golf Club will host in 2010 in 2012. The Championship will return to Victoria Hills in 2011.
The Atlantic Sun Conference is an 11-member league committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun stands for achievement with integrity in both the academic and athletic arenas, with a focus on the balance between the two for our student-athletes. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.