Cullowhee, N.C. – The Western Carolina women’s golf team opens its 2019-20 schedule this weekend as it hosts a small, three-team event at the Waynesville Inn Golf Resort. In addition to the host Catamounts, mountain-rival Appalachian State and SoCon-foe, The Citadel, will compete in the 2019 Judaculla Cup with a total of 23 women’s golfers in the field.
After a year hiatus from hosting a tournament, WCU host the 2019 Judaculla Cup at a very familiar locale for Catamount women’s golf. WCU and the Waynesville Inn Golf Resort combined to host the Great Smokies Intercollegiate from 1999-2014. The return to the facility includes a practice round on Sunday with the two-day, 36-hole event consisting of 18-hole stroke play rounds both days on the par-72, 5,932 yard layout between the Carolina (front nine) and Blue Ridge (back nine) courses.
Monday’s first round opens at 9:00 am with set tee times off the front nine.
Western Carolina women’s golf last hosted a collegiate tournament in Waynesville in 2014, ending its 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. “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.”
This year’s tournament is named for the Judaculla Rock that is located just south of the Western Carolina University campus. This soapstone rock outcropping is a petroglyph – or a prehistoric carving – featuring numerous Native America symbols etched or carved into the surface. The name “Judaculla” is thought to be derived from the Cherokee language and the legend of a giant who bore the same name as the area in western North Carolina was originally inhabited by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian.
Western Carolina returns six golfers from a season ago with three newcomers to the lineup making qualifying for the team’s official scoring five highly competitive through the early fall. All nine WCU women’s golfers will be in action over the next two days, four playing as individuals. Sophomore transfer Madison Isaacson will lead the Catamount scoring five in the season’s first event with Monday’s 9:00 am tee times. The UNCW transfer is flanked by juniors Maya White and Hazel Martin, the top two returning scorers from the 2018-19 squad, with freshmen Victoria Ladd and Bailee Twiford rounding out WCU’s scoring side.
This year’s lone senior Brianna Plummer, third a season ago on the Catamount team in season stroke average, will vie for the individual championship unattached, joined by juniors Cameron Wood and Harper Gilreath with second-year striker Cassidy Chambers rounding out WCU’s competitors.
Though there will not be live scoring of the event, fans can keep track of the season-opening event with posts through social media on Twitter using the handle, @catamounts or @WCU_womensgolf. Complete results and recap will be made available online at CatamountSports.com.