BELTON (May 6, 2013) -- The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor women's golf team will return to the NCAA Division III National Championships for the third consecutive year and the ninth time overall when the tournament opens next Tuesday, May 14th. The 21-team, six-individual field for the 2013 tournament was announced last night. This year's tournament will be played May 14-17 at the Baytowne Golf Course at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Destin, Fla.
The UMHB women will be making their 13th overall national tournament appearance. The Cru women capped a streak of four straight NAIA National Tournament appearances by winning the NAIA National Title in 2000. The UMHB women finished fourth in their inaugural NCAA Division III National Championship appearance in 2001, posted four straight runner-up finishes in the NCAA's and then finished seventh in the country in 2006. The UMHB women finished sixth at last year's National Tournament after shooting 1267 in four days of competition. U.T.-Tyler also earned a spot in the tournament, giving the ASC 10 of the 101 golfers in competition. Methodist University has won 13 consecutive Division III National titles, taking the title last year with a final card of 1242.
The UMHB women earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with a 26-stroke victory in the ASC Championship Tournament. It was the 10th overall conference title for the Cru. UMHB will field a line-up that includes four veterans from last year’s team. Victoria Thane (So., Stamford) shot a tournament low 313 last year for the Cru. Thane is joined by veterans Sara Eckert (Jr., Brenham), Kelly Gonyea (Jr., Harker Heights) and two-time ASC Individual Champion Taylor O’Rear (So., Salado). Elizabeth Davis (Fr., Houston) is the lone underclassmen for the Cru. The ASC Championship was one of three wins for the Cru this season, joining victories in the Alamo City Classic and Jekyll Island Invitational. O’Rear leads the Cru women in stroke average at 79.11, with victories in the Golfweek Preview and Alamo City Classic to go along with her ASC tournament title. UMHB had top-four team-finishes in all nine of its tournaments this season and 12 top-five individual finishes. Davis, Eckert and O’Rear were named ASC All-Conference First Team while Gonyea was a second-team honoree and Kirby earned ASC Coach of the Year honors for the 10th time.
Eckert and Gonyea will return for their third national tournament appearance while O’Rear and Thane will make their second. You can follow the 2013 NCAA Division III National Tournament through live scoring. Those links will be posted on the UMHB athletic department web site and NCAA.com closer to the start of the tournament.