Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina women's golf returns to action this weekend as it travels to the 2017 Lady Paladin Invitational, hosted by Southern Conference-foe, Furman, at their on-campus, par-72, 6,278-yard golf facility. The long-running event has been contested every year since 1972 save two -- in 1983 because of snow and a 2008 course renovation.
The tournament practice round was held on Thursday, Sept. 20, with the 54-hole event teeing off on Friday, Sept. 21. The first two rounds will begin with set tee-times off the first and 10th tees starting at 9:00 am with Sunday featuring a shotgun start at 9:00 am. Paired with golfers from Daytona State and UNCW, Western Carolina's scoring five hits the course beginning at 10:30 am on the back nine.
Live scoring will be available through BirdieFire.com.
In addition to the Catamounts and the host Paladins, the two purple-clad squads will be joined by fellow SoCon competitors ETSU and Chattanooga. The field also includes Augusta, Daytona State, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, James Madison, Kennesaw State, LSU, Memphis, Middle Tennessee State, Ole Miss, Southern Miss, UNC Wilmington, and Virginia Tech.
"The Lady Paladin Invitational is the strongest, most-competitive tournament we will play in all year. We are looking forward to competing against some of the top teams in the country," said WCU second-year head coach, Sara Anne McGetrick. "We have worked all week on belief -- both in yourself and in the process of getting just a little bit better every day. I'm proud of the hard work they have all put in, and we are ready to put this belief into action in tournament play."
WCU's scoring five includes two seniors -- both of whom are in just their second year in Cullowhee -- and three newcomers including a junior and two true freshmen. The Catamounts will be led by seniors Amanda Floberg and Alyssa Morahan, with Irish-born Spartanburg Methodist junior transfer Shannon Heerey making her second appearance for the Purple & Gold.
"Qualifying for the Lady Paladin Invitational was quite competitive and we feel confident entering the tournament with a strong lineup including three upperclassmen and two freshmen," McGetrick said.
Western Carolina looks to make improvements on a tough season-opening tournament. The team's roster includes five new faces -- four of which are true freshmen -- with the remaining three golfers each playing just one season in Cullowhee prior.
"After returning from the first tournament in Williamsburg, Va., and assessing the areas in which the team needs improvement, we had a week and a half of focused, productive practices working primarily on our short game and approach shots to the green," McGetrick explained. "I feel that this has resulted in each team member developing confidence in her ability to be a contributing scorer on this team -- and for that, I am extremely proud of them."
WCU's second tournament of the fall season gets underway Friday morning, again with live scoring online through BirdieFire.com.