In their first season in the Colonial Athletic Association, the Charleston women’s golf team captured the 2014 CAA Championship over the weekend in Southport, N.C.
An early favorite heading into the tournament, they overcame wet conditions to card a two-round score of 618 (+42) with an average score of 81.33 on Friday and an average score of 84.09 on Sunday. Saturday’s second round was rained out for the first time in league history.
The conference title qualifies the Cougars for the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
Charleston won the tournament by 15 strokes over William & Mary and Delaware (+57). UNCW was fourth (+58), followed by James Madison (+65), Towson (+85), Dayton (+94), Richmond (+106) and Hofstra (+110).
“Any time you win a championship, it’s a great feeling,” head coach Jamie Futrell said. “I am very pleased with what we have accomplished this season. We had an opportunity to set a tradition as new members of the Colonial and this is our first step in that direction. It was very important to us to get off to a great start in this new conference. We were the favorite going in and sometimes there is a lot of pressure as the favorite. You can either relish being the favorite or it can be a burden. I thought we relished it this weekend.”
Freshman Laura Fuenfstueck took home the individual CAA championship with a low score of 72-76—148 (+4) to lead the team’s run to the title. Fuenfstueck is the first freshman to win the tournament in CAA women’s golf history.
Joining Fuenfstueck was sophomores Julia Neumann, Mary Chandler Bryan, Louise Olsson and Morgan Webber.
Fuenfstueck led the field with 31 pars. Olsson and Bryan tied for the most birdies of the tournament with five. Fuenfstueck was named CAA Most Outstanding Performer and to the CAA All-Tournament Team along with Neumann.
“We survived today,” Futrell said. “Julia [Neumann] played awesome today with the lowest round which was a huge momentum boost for us. Laura [Fuenfstueck] had a great tournament, but our whole team fought this weekend. This group does a very good job of staying in the moment and not letting too much affect them. They don’t let things snowball and that’s what makes us good. It was a truly ‘gut check’ type of tournament for us and we were able to persevere through it all.”
It is the women’s golf team’s second conference championship in school history. The women won the 2006 Southern Conference title.
This year’s three NCAA Regional sites will be played on May 8-10 and hosted by Florida State (East Regional), Oklahoma State (Central Regional) and the University of Washington (West Regional). The Top 24 teams, eight from each regional site, will then compete for the team championship hosted by the University of Tulsa on May 20-23 at the Tulsa Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.
The Charleston women will learn their regional site on Monday, April 28 during the Division I Women’s Golf Championship Selection Show, which will be broadcast on the Golf Channel at 6 p.m.