Back-to-Back Champs! Women’s Golf Repeats as Division II National Champions

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Published May 17, 2014 07:20 PM

Conover, N.C. – The historic season for Lynn University’s women’s golf team came full circle on Saturday afternoon following the squad’s 29-stroke victory at the Rock Barn Golf & Spa to claim the 2014 NCAA Division II Women’s Golf National Championship.  This marks the second consecutive national title and fifth overall for the women’s golf program and gives Lynn University 22 national crowns in school history.  Louise Manalo doubled the Fighting Knights’ celebration by becoming the program’s fifth individual national champion with a 72-hole program record score of 287.

The Blue & White shattered the records books this season, winning 11 tournaments, including tying a Sunshine State Conference record with seven straight, and smashing every individual and team mark.  Additionally, Lynn went undefeated against all Division II opponents this year and has not lost since the SSC Championship last season, a span of 15 tournaments.   This is also the second time the Fighting Knights have claimed back-to-back titles, having won three straight from 1995-97 (NAIA 1995 & 1996, NCAA 1997).

Manalo cruised through the front nine and finished the back nine even with par to turn in a 68 and 287 overall score. The Brussels, Belgium, product is just the third player in program history to shoot a round of 68.  She joins Geneve Lavendure (1993, NAIA), Josephine Stalvant (1995, NAIA), and Zoe Grimbeek (1997 NAIA & 1998 NCAA) to win an individual title in women’s golf.

Lynn held on to a 13-stroke lead heading into the final round but added some cushion by shooting five-under par through the first nine holes. Manalo came through the turn strong, making birdie putts on four of the last five holes on the front nine. Jessica Bradley and Irene Calvo both shot one-under par while Samantha Smolen was even with a bogey and a birdie. Ellen Chambers was two-over par on the front nine but dropped a stroke on hole No. 11

The senior from Petrie, Australia, finished the round with a 78 and a 303 through the 72-hole tournament. Calvo shot a 70 in the final round and a 303 overall to finish tied for 23rd overall with Chambers. Smolen carded a 73 in the last round to earn a top-10 finish, the 10th of the season.

Bradley entered the final round with a one-stroke lead over her teammate. She turned in a 71 to finish the day even with par after a huge birdie on hole No. 18 but was slightly edged by Manalo to finish as the national runner up.  Bradley shot 288 throughout 72 holes to finish four-over par. Her second place finish is the 13th top-10 finish of the season and 25 for her career, both program records.
Lynn took the title with a four-round score of 1164 (+28), the second-lowest total in NCAA Division II National Championship history. The Fighting Knights finished the tournament with a championship-low 282 in the final round.  No. 3 Barry finished runner-up with a team score of 1193 (+57), while No. 2 Rollins finished in fourth with a total score of 1212 (+76) to give the Sunshine State Conference three of the top-four teams in the final standings.

This marks the fifth consecutive year that a SSC golfer has won the NCAA Division II Championship and 17th time overall. Lynn’s victory proves the SSC’s dominance in women’s golf as teams from the league have now claimed the last 15 NCAA Division II Women's Golf Championships since 2000, and a conference team has also been the national runner-up 12 times during that span.

The Fighting Knights graduate Chambers and Calvo but will return WGCA National Player of the Year Jessica Bradley, First Team All-American Samantha Smolen and individual national champion Louise Manalo.  To learn more about the rich history of the women’s golf program and their five national titles, log on to LynnFightingKnights.com. Make sure to ‘Like’ us on Facebook and follow @LUKnights on Twitter and Instagram.

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