Cullowhee, N.C. – Ten total events including three played across the mountains of western North Carolina headline Western Carolina’s 2019-20 women’s golf schedule unveiled today by second-year head coach Courtney Gunter. Seven of WCU’s scheduled tournaments are new for the program this season as the Catamounts will play in five states across the southeast between the fall and spring semesters.
WCU returns to friendly grounds to open the fall portion of the 2019-20 schedule at the Waynesville Inn Golf Resort with the Judaculla Cup competition Sept. 8-10. The season ultimately culminates with the 2020 Southern Conference Women’s Golf Championship which returns to the Moss Creek Golf Club in Hilton Head Island, S.C., on April 18-21 for a third consecutive year since a six-year run from 2009-14.
“Our schedule this year is more local than in the past. I believe playing in some events close to home and in areas that have courses similar to ours here in the mountains will be beneficial for our team as we are used to playing hilly, mountain courses with high elevation,” said Gunter of her squad’s 2019-20 schedule. “Competing in places such as Boone, Asheville, and in Tennessee will feel familiar and hopefully correlate with low scores. We are still traveling to the coast of Florida and South Carolina to get experience playing those types of courses in preparation for SoCon, which once again will be held in Hilton Head at Moss Creek Country Club.”
After a year hiatus from hosting a tournament, WCU will host the 2019 Judaculla Cup featuring just three teams – Appalachian State, The Citadel, and WCU – in competition at the Waynesville Inn Golf Resort, which hosted WCU women’s golf and the Great Smokies Intercollegiate from 1999-2014. The two-day, 36-hole event will consist of 18-hole stroke play rounds both days.
Western Carolina women’s golf last hosted a collegiate tournament in Waynesville in 2014, ending a run of 16-consecutive years at the 27-hole championship golf facility. Gunter turned to WCU’s former Director of Golf – and longtime friend of the program, as well as experienced tournament director, Steve Lott – to coordinate the three-team, season-opening event. Lott orchestrated and built WCU’s former home tournament to 24-plus teams at its height during the 16-year run of the tournament.
WCU women’s golf did host the Bill Berg Invitational for two seasons at The Ridges Country Club – now Mountain Harbour Golf Club – in Hayesville, N.C., in 2016 and 2017.
“We feel an exciting addition to our schedule which was missing this past year is a home event to kick off the season,” said Gunter of hosting the inaugural Judaculla Cup at Waynesville Inn Golf Resort in early September. “We hope this will bring a large home crowd as we will be competing against our archrival, Appalachian State as well as league-foe, The Citadel. We hope to see this tournament grow over the next several years.”
The Catamounts return to action at the end of September for the F&M Bank Intercollegiate, hosted by Austin Peay at the Clarksville (Tenn.) Country Club Sept. 30-Oct. 1 before traveling to Rock Hill, S.C., and the Waterford Golf Club for the one-day Winthrop Fall Invitational Oct. 7. The fall portion of WCU’s schedule wraps up with a trip to Boone and Appalachian State’s Hound Ears Intercollegiate Oct. 14-15 for 36 holes played at the venue by the same name with a return to Mercer’s three-round Idle Hour Collegiate Nov. 4-5 marking the final event of the fall.
Each of Western Carolina’s spring tournaments will play out through 54 holes, resuming on Feb. 10-11 at the FAU Winter Warmup, playing the Osprey Point Golf Course in Boca Raton, Fla. Just under a month later, the Catamounts again travel to the Kiawah Island Classic, hosted by the College of Charleston between the Oak Point and Osprey Point courses of the Kiawah Island Resort for three-days of 54-hole competition March 1-3. WCU finished 21st a season ago at the event billed as one of the largest women’s golf collegiate tournaments in the country.
In mid-March, WCU travels to the near-by Sevierville Golf Club, playing the Highlands Course in the Bobby Nichols Intercollegiate hosted by Tennessee Tech before heading east to The Cliffs at Walnut Cove in Arden for UNC Asheville’s French Broad Collegiate Invitational March 29-31 in the final tune-up before the conference championship event in Hilton Head.
Western Carolina returns six golfers from a season ago with a trio of newcomers including two true freshmen – Victoria Ladd (Greensboro, N.C.) and Bailee Twiford (Coinjock, N.C.) – flanked by UNC Wilmington sophomore transfer Madison Isaacson (Greensboro, N.C.). WCU’s roster has just one senior in Brianna Plummer, with juniors Maya White and Hazel Martin returning as the top two scorers from last year’s squad.
Providing depth for Gunter and the Catamounts are juniors Harper Gilreath and Cameron Wood, while sophomore Cassidy Chambers looks to build upon her two appearances in WCU’s scoring five a season ago.
“With some great returning players building upon their progress from last year and three fantastic newcomers eager to start competing for Western Carolina, I feel that we will be well-prepared to take on the high-level competition we will be facing this year,” said Gunter.