Cullowhee, N.C. – Western Carolina women’s golf opens the spring portion of its 2018-19 schedule this weekend, traveling to Kiawah Island, S.C., for the 2019 Kiawah Island Spring Classic, hosted by the College of Charleston. It is the first of five spring tournaments, three of which will be played in the Palmetto State.
Paired with golfers from Longwood in twosomes, WCU’s scoring five will open on the first three holes in a 1:15 pm shotgun start. Live scoring of the event with updates every nine holes will be available online through GolfStat.com.
The Catamount scoring five includes junior Brianna Plummer, three sophomores in Harper Gilreath – who is making her 2018-19 season debut – Hazel Martin, Maya White, as well as freshman Amy Wooten, who paced the team through the fall with a 78.64 stroke average.
“I am looking forward to our spring season getting started,” said WCU head coach Courtney Gunter. “It has been over three months since we've competed, and we are all very eager to get back out there and show everyone how hard we have been working.”
Billed as the largest collegiate golf tournament in the country, the 2019 edition of the Kiawah Island Spring Classic has expanded from 43 to 49 total teams in this year’s field. For the fifth time in its history, the three-day, 54-hole event will be held at Osprey Point at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort, using two courses including both the par-72, 5,984-yard Osprey Point and par-72, 5,977-yard Oak Point courses. After 36 holes of play, the Top 24 teams will play for the championship at Osprey Point during the final round, while teams 25-48 will play for a flight championship at Oak Point.
In addition to two teams representing the tournament host Cougars and WCU, the 49-team field includes one other Southern Conference team in UNCG. The remainder of the field includes Bethune-Cookman, Boston University, Bucknell, Butler, Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, Dayton, Delaware, Elon, Fairfield, Fairleigh Dickinson, Georgia Southern, Hampton, High Point, Hofstra, Indiana State, IUPUI, Jacksonville, Jacksonville State, Lehigh, Lipscomb, Longwood, Monmouth, Murray State, Navy, North Alabama, North Florida, UNC Asheville, Omaha, Presbyterian, Quinnipiac, Richmond, Sacred Heart, SCAD Savannah, South Dakota, South Florida, Stetson, Tennessee Tech, UT Arlington, Towson, Tulsa, USC Upstate, William & Mary, Wyoming and Youngstown State.
Last year, host College of Charleston won the team title with a three-round score of 872 (+8) followed by runner-up Murray State (+15). Jacksonville State’s Valentina Giraldo, Murray State’s Lucila Puente Rodriguez and UNCW’s Lyberty Anderson tied for individual medalist honors (-5).
The Kiawah Island Spring Classic opens a five-event spring schedule for the Catamounts that culminates with the Southern Conference Women’s Golf Championship in mid-April. Among the spring highlights are a mid-March trip west for the Clover Cup, hosted by Notre Dame at the Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz.
“Although this is my first winter and first spring golf season here at WCU, I feel confident in saying that we have been able to practice more these last few weeks than most previous teams thanks to our new indoor practice facility,” Gunter said about the transition from the fall to the spring competition season. “On days that it has been too cold to practice outside or so wet that courses are closed, we have still gotten work done inside, utilizing the putting green and Trackman simulator. I hope this allows us to go out and continue to build on our momentum from the fall instead of having to almost restart after the cold months.”
Gunter added, “This first tournament is the largest tournament in college golf. There will be 49 teams competing on two different golf courses on and near Kiawah Island. This is a great opportunity for us to compete against many different programs and see how we stack up starting the spring season.”