Cullowhee, N.C. - Nine events spread over both the fall and spring semesters comprise Western Carolina’s 2015-16 women’s golf schedule released today by sixth-year head coach Mallory Hetzel. WCU returns to five events in which it played a season ago with four new tournaments on the slate.
The Catamounts’ season begins in mid-September and culminates in mid-April, 2016 with the Southern Conference Women’s Golf Championship.
“The 2015-16 schedule looks a little different than previous years, but we are excited to compete in new events at great venues across the southeast,” said Hetzel of her squad’s 2015-16 schedule. “The Kingsmill Resort and Pinehurst Resort are some of the best in the country, and we feel quite lucky to be playing both this fall. In the spring, we have a chance to see some top 25-to-50 teams at both the UCF Challenge and the Ole Miss Invitational.”
Western Carolina opens the 2015-16 season September 13-15, traveling to Williamsburg, Va., for the William & Mary Invitational. The three-day, 54-hole event is played on the Plantation Course at the Kingsmill Resort which also hosts a LPGA tournament each spring. The Catamounts conclude the month of September by heading south to the Jacksonville Classic at the Marsh Landing Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. WCU had two golfers finish inside the top 20 at last year’s tournament.
Two competitions in October wrap-up the fall portion of the 2015-16 docket as Western Carolina travels to Pinehurst, N.C., for a 54-hole tournament hosted by the College of Charleston at Pinehurst No. 1. A week later, the Catamounts return to eastern North Carolina for the Fighting Camel Fall Classic hosted by Campbell at the Keith Hills Golf Course in Buies Creek, N.C.
Western Carolina’s five spring tournaments open with back-to-back events in the Sunshine State of Florida coming a month apart. WCU opens the spring semester with their third-straight trip to the UCF Challenge, hosted by Central Florida at the Eagle Creek Golf Club in Orlando. The Catamounts open March at the UNF Collegiate, hosted by North Florida at the Jacksonville Golf and Country Club. It is the third-straight season for WCU to compete in the tournament, finishing seventh a year ago after winning the team title in 2014.
March concludes at the John Kirk Panther Intercollegiate, hosted by Georgia State at the Eagle’s Landing Country Club in Stockbridge, Ga. The 54-hole tournament will be played over three days of competition with one round per day. Last spring, paced by a seventh-place finish from rising senior Kim Mitchell, the Catamounts posted a third-place showing at the event.
On the opening weekend of April, Western Carolina travels to Oxford, Miss., to play in the highly-competitive Rebel Intercollegiate, hosted on-campus at the Ole Miss Golf Course. The tournament is scheduled for April 1-3, 2016.
The 23rd-annual Southern Conference Women’s Golf Championship returns to the Savannah Quarters Golf Club in Pooler, Ga., for a second-straight season. The 54-hole, champion-crowning event is scheduled for April 10-12. WCU looks to build upon its fourth-place tie a year ago, led by Mitchell with a top five individual finish. Both the team and individual champion from the tournament garner berths into a NCAA Regional.
Western Carolina returns a veteran lineup including two seniors in Kim Mitchell and Mariah Hopkins, with a trio of juniors in Bethany Galloway, Olivia Landino and Ashley Thompson. The five returners are joined by a pair of freshmen in Madison Caldwell (Dawsonville, Ga.) and international standout, Natalia Villavicencio (Santiago, Chile).
“We made a lot of great strides last spring and hopefully we can carry that momentum into the fall schedule,” Hetzel said. “I'm looking forward to seeing how much the freshmen will contribute and which upperclassman will step up to lead us. We finally have some much needed depth in our lineup and qualifying within the team will be competitive.”
Mitchell and Landino return as the leading scorers from a season ago with Mitchell posting a team-best stroke average of 76.04 over the team’s 10 events. That duo combined to lead the Catamounts in five tournaments including three by Landino. Mitchell posted a top five finish at the 2015 Southern Conference Women’s Golf Championship, and continued her positive momentum over the summer by qualifying for the 115th United States Women’s Amateur, advancing through stroke play into match-play - the first Catamount women's golfer to do so.
Sept. 13-15 – William & Mary Invitational – Kingsmill Resort – Plantation Course (Williamsburg, Va.)
Sept. 28-29 – Jacksonville Classic – Marsh Landing Country Club (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.)
Oct. 12-13 – Pinehurst Challenge – Pinehurst Resort No. 1 (Pinehurst, N.C.)
Oct. 18-20 – Fighting Camel Classic – Keith Hills Country Club (Buies Creek, N.C.)
Feb. 7-9 – UCF Challenge – Eagle Creek Country Club (Orlando, Fla.)
March 7-8 – UNF Collegiate – Jacksonville Golf Country Club (Jacksonville, Fla.)
March 27-29 – John Kirk Panther Intercollegiate – Eagle’s Landing Country Club (Stockbridge, Ga.)
April 1-3 – Rebel Intercollegiate – Ole Miss Golf Course (Oxford, Miss.)
April 10-12 – Southern Conference Championship – Savannah Quarters Country Club (Pooler, Ga.)