Sept. 10, 2013
Pawley's Island, S.C. - Western Carolina newcomers Kristin Swindell and Kim Mitchell paced the Catamounts to a sixth-place showing at the season-opening Golfweek Program Challenge which concluded Tuesday afternoon at the par-71, 6,038-yard Caledonia Golf & Fish Club.
Swindell fired rounds of 74, 75 and 74 for a three-day total of 223, while Mitchell rallied to card the lowest round by a WCU golfer in the event with a one-under par, 70, to also finish at 223, both tied for 17th.
Coupled with the men's team score of 865, Western Carolina finished fifth overall in the Program Challenge portion of the event with a combined score of 1,762. This year's finish was two spots better than the Catamounts' first trip a year ago where they finished seventh. WCU's women were also two positions better in the standings than 2012.
Campbell again claimed the overall championship, edging Jacksonville State by one stroke, 1,741-to-1,742. Campbell's women won the team title by 17 strokes with an 862 while the men were tied for ninth at 879. For Jacksonville State, their men's squad was tied for third at 863 while the women finished second at 879.
Swindell made the turn at two-over par on Tuesday with three bogies and a birdie through her first nine holes. A double-bogey on the par-3 11th left her at four-over for the round, but managed to follow it up with a birdie on No. 12 and closed with six-consecutive pars to match her best round for the Purple & Gold at 74.
Mitchell returned to her opening day form over the final 18 holes posting 13 pars. A bogey on the par-4 fifth was erased with a birdie on the par-3 sixth to make the turn even. Birdies on the 13th and 15th holes moved the Woodbridge, Va., native to two-under par for the day before scoring bogey on the par-3 17th resulting in her WCU career-best, 70, and tied with her teammate in 17th overall.
Sophomore Taylor Allison advanced six positions in the final standings, placing 24th overall with a three-day total of 226. On the final day of the tournament, Allison overcame an early three-over start with three-straight birdies on holes six through eight to make the turn at even par. However, she played three of her first four holes of the back nine at bogey-or-worse to stand four-over on the day with five holes to play. Allison closed with four pars and a birdie to shoot three-over, 74.
Rounding out WCU's scoring five were freshman Olivia Landino who placed tied for 32nd (230) in her first collegiate event, and sophomore Mariah Hopkins, who slipped into a tie for 42nd overall with a final round 85 and a three-day tally of 234. Landino finished her first event with 35 pars and three birdies. Hopkins' final round included four holes of double-bogey or worse, but did manage eight pars and a birdie to give her six for the event.
The Camels finished with three golfers inside the individual top five including the event champion, Tahnia Ravnjak, to win by 17 strokes over second-place, Jacksonville State. Ravnjak carded seven birdies en route to a tournament-low round of five-under par, 66, on Tuesday to advance five spots in the standings to claim medalist honors. Jacksonville State's Anne Kathrin Albrecht, second-round leader Ginger Mak from James Madison and Campbell's Alexandra Prazak each finished at two-over par, 215, for the tournament, tied for the runner-up spot.
Western Carolina's women returns to its home course at the Waynesville Inn - Golf Resort & Spa in Waynesville, N.C., for the 15th annual Great Smokies Intercollegiate, Sept. 16-17. A combined 13 teams including three previous event champions will vie for the tournament championship over 36 holes.