OCU takes aim at third consecutive national championship

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POOLER, Ga. – Oklahoma City University takes aim at its third consecutive national title in the NAIA women’s golf championships starting 7:30 a.m. EDT Tuesday at Savannah Quarters Country Club.

The fourth-ranked Stars will tee off on the 10th hole starting at 8:20 a.m. EDT. Keep up with the 72-hole tournament via live scoring and live video.

This season, OCU won two events, including the Sooner Athletic Conference Championships on April 20-21 at Twin Hills Golf & Country Club in Oklahoma City. The Stars took the conference championship for the fourth consecutive year and 13th time in 15 years.

"We’ve been improving all season," Oklahoma City coach Marty McCauley said. "That’s what I like, we’ve gotten better with each tournament. This is the time of year when you want to be at your best. I see that mostly our short game needs some work, and a little bit of course management work."

OCU took its seventh women’s golf national championship in dramatic fashion May 23, 2014 at Wilderness Ridge Golf Club in Lincoln, Neb. Elia Folch buried an eagle putt to rally the Stars from five strokes down on the last hole and force a playoff against top-ranked SCAD-Savannah (Ga.). OCU prevailed in the first playoff hole for its second consecutive national crown.

Oklahoma City has national titles won in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013 and 2014.

"It was a very magical thing that happened," said McCauley, who has led the Stars to their last two national championships. "With four scores counting, that’s nearly impossible to make up. Whenever I coach the girls, I try to coach them before the round to get them prepared to do their own thing when they play. I was just sitting on the side of the hill watching them come in, and I thought, ‘Whoa, we picked up two there, we picked up another one there.’ Everybody knew Elia Folch had to make the putt on the last hole, a 15-footer, and she walked up there like she had done it a million times and just stuck it in."

OCU returns two all-tournament performers from the 2014 NAIA Championships – Kailey Campbell and Caroline Goodin. All four of OCU’s sophomore returnees from last year’s team became all-Americans.

Campbell, a sophomore from Oktaha, has posted a 76.62 stroke average and 48 birdies. She reeled in an all-SAC nod by turning in a tie for sixth place in the league championships.

Goodin has provided OCU with 78.69 shots per round and 39 birdies in 2014-15. Goodin snagged SAC golfer of week for April 6-12 after a runner-up finish in the Oklahoma Baptist Invitational.

Emma Allen leads the Stars with a 76.23 stroke average as well as 54 birdies this season. Allen, a freshman from Tulsa, became the SAC freshman of the year. She has one eagle this season.

Anna Mikish, a sophomore from Choctaw, has registered 78.08 strokes per 18 holes plus an eagle and 46 birdies in 2014-15. Katie-Lee Wilson owns a 78.85 stroke average while sinking 33 birdies this season. Wilson, a sophomore from Owasso, collected all-SAC honors by tying for sixth in the conference tournament.

Northwood (Fla.) enters the NAIA Championships in the top spot among the rankings for the fourth consecutive week. SCAD-Savannah holds the No. 2 slot, and British Columbia is third.

Savannah Quarters Country Club will be set up as a par-72, 6,004-yard course. The course, founded in 2001 and located within the Westbrook community, is primed to test the competitors’ skills as soon as they set foot on the history-rich fairways of this 18-hole Greg Norman Signature Golf Course managed by Troon Golf. With tall trees, multiple ponds and ominous hazards, danger lurks at every corner as the players make their way towards the pristine MiniVerde ultradwarf Bermuda greens.

The forecasted high temperature at the course for Tuesday is 92 degrees, but by the end of the week, the projected high temperature could be 80. There are rain chances throughout the week with the highest chance for rain 50 percent on Wednesday and Friday.

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Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source

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