Courtesy UNCW Sports
The Landfall Tradition, one of the nation’s premier collegiate women’s golf tournaments, tees off early Friday at the Country Club of Landfall’s pristine Pete Dye Course.
The three-day event begins at 8:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 27-28, 2017, and wraps up with a shotgun start at 8:45 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. The tournament will be contested on the Par-72, 6,166-yard rolling layout nestled along the Intracoastal Waterway near Wrightsville Beach.
“It’s exciting to have another exceptionally strong field of teams this year in The Landfall Tradition,’ said UNCW Head Coach Cindy Ho. “The scoring in women’s golf this fall has been incredible and if the weather is good, we should see a lot of great scores and possibly some records fall by these talented players.
“The Wilmington golf community will be treated to some outstanding golf this week. Country Club of Landfall head superintendent Jeff Mack and his staff have the Dye Course in fantastic condition. We are so grateful to the membership, the Landfall Tradition committee and the entire golf staff for helping our program host one of the best women’s tournaments in the country.”
In its 16th year, the tournament features a quality field of 18 schools, including five of the top nine teams in the latest Golfstat’s rankings. Top-ranked Alabama won the event in 2013.
This year’s competitors include host UNCW, Alabama, Central Florida, Clemson, Duke, Florida, Furman, Kentucky, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Purdue, South Carolina and Virginia.
South Carolina returns as the defending champion. In last year’s installment, the Gamecocks were declared the team champion after winning a tiebreaker against Wake Forest. Both teams finished with identical 859 team scores. Jennifer Kupcho of Wake Forest took home medalist honors after setting a tournament record with a three-round score of 73-66-68=207.
UNCW, behind eventual CAA Player-of-the-Year Lyberty Anderson, finished last year’s tournament in 17th place with a 307217-296=920 score. The Seahawks are paired with No. 1 Alabama and LSU this week and will tee off on Hole No. 1 at 9:15 a.m. on Friday.
Ho said, “I’m looking forward to seeing how my team competes this week. We started off the season strong and I’m confident that we will be more competitive this year. It’s important for us to focus on playing the golf course as best we can, giving ourselves lots of opportunities to score by picking when to be aggressive, when to hit to the center of the green and to adapt to the speed of the greens. I know we can play well this week if we stay patient and positive.”
Coached by Mic Potter, the Crimson Tide enters the weekend affair atop the women’s collegiate golf world, but Duke (No. 5), Oklahoma State (No. 6), Furman (No. 8) and South Carolina (No. 9) are likely to be in the mix on Sunday.
The Crimson Tide is coming off a second-place finish at the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational two weeks ago in Chapel Hill. Potter’s team fired a three-round total of 834, one stroke behind champion Duke at 833. South Carolina came in third at 846.
Duke’s Leona Maguire was the individual winner at the Ruth’s Chris event with consecutive sub-par rounds of 69, 66 and 69 for a sparkling 204 score. South Carolina’s Ainhoa Olarra finished second at 70-67-68=205 and Alabama’s Lauren Stephenson tied for third with a 72-68-66=206 card.
Four teams in the event are former NCAA champions. Duke has won the NCAA title six times, Florida owns two titles and Alabama and Purdue have each finished first once.
Five players in this year’s field are ranked in the top-11 in the country, topped by Stephenson. In addition, four players – McGuire (Duke), Cheyenne Knight (Alabama), Lakarebe Abe (Alabama) and Maddie McCrary (Oklahoma) – recently advanced through Stage 2 of the LPGA Qualifying School.
The Landfall Tradition originated in 2002 and has featured 10 different titlists. Wake Forest has won the event three times and Duke has captured the hardware twice. Seven different schools have been crowned champion in the last seven years.
Through the years, 53 different schools and more than 1,000 players have competed in the Landfall Tradition. There are no new entries in this year’s field.