March 25, 2013
Hilton Head Island, S.C. - Sophomore Maria Kjelldorff shared individual medalist honors while freshman Mariah Hopkins finished in third-place overall as Western Carolina claimed its third Low Country Intercollegiate team title on Monday at the par-72, 5,822-yard Moss Creek Golf Club. WCU shot 328 on the damp South Course to edge second-place Princeton by four strokes, scoring its first team tournament victory of the season.
Kjelldorff overcame a five-over par 41 on the front nine to shoot one-over on the back, finishing with a six-over par 78 to finish atop the individual leader board tied with Sarah Knapp of Dartmouth who shot 39-39 for a matching 78. The two finished just ahead of Hopkins who shot 79 (39-40) in recording her career-best finish.
Kjelldorff's previous career-best finish was a 13th-place performance earlier this season at the Great Smokies Intercollegiate held at the Waynesville Inn, Golf Resort & Spa. The Saltsjobaden, Sweden product now joins freshman teammate Taylor Allison as one of two Catamounts with first-place finishes this season.
A third Catamount, senior Michelle Bello, recorded her career-best finish, placing amidst a seven-way tie for 20th overall at 84 with freshmen Taylor Allison (38th-t, 87) and Fatima Gonzalez-Carriles (68th-t, 94) rounding out WCU's scoring side in the 89-golfer field.
WCU finished ahead of runner-up, Princeton (332) with Dartmouth finishing third at 335 followed by tournament host, Wofford (338) in fourth and DePauw University in fifth at 339. Fellow Southern Conference member Appalachian State was tied for seventh at 341 with The Citadel finishing 15th in the 16-team field.
The Catamounts finished 10 strokes better than the nearest SoCon competitor on the day.
This year's Low Country Intercollegiate was shortened to just 18 holes on Sunday after heavy rain storms left the course unplayable. It marks the fourth tournament affected by weather for the Catamount women this season.
In addition to winning Monday's event, the Catamount women took the team honors in both 2009 and 2010 in the first two seasons of the tournament. Serving as a co-host in 2009, WCU won by six strokes over co-host Wofford before edging James Madison in the 2010 edition of the event. This season marks the first time WCU has participated in the tournament in two seasons.
WCU's women's golf team returns to action this Thursday, March 28 as it teams with the Catamount men's squad against arch-rival Appalachian State for the University Cup. It is the third-straight season for the co-ed, head-to-head completion held at the Mimosa Hills Country Club in Morganton, N.C. WCU won the first-ever event in 2011, 3.5-to-2.5, with the Mountaineers winning a season ago, 6-1.