Victory! Women’s Golf Fights to the Finish to Claim 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship

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Published May 18, 2013 07:27 PM

Daytona Beach, Fla.- Lynn University’s women’s golf team captured the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship on Saturday afternoon, edging four-time defending national champions and top-ranked Nova Southeastern by three strokes with a 1,187 team score in the four-round tournament held at the LPGA International Legends Course.  Lynn shot a 305 on the final day to finish the tournament +35 on the 6,228-yard par-72 course.  This is the second NCAA title for the women's program, and fourth overall, and gives Lynn University 21 national championships in its illustrious history.

The Fighting Knights won back-to-back NAIA women's golf titles in 1995 and 1996 before making the jump to the NCAA to win its first title in 1997. Last time the Blue and White appeared in the NCAA Championships was in the 2005-06 season where they placed third. 

"National Champs has a great ring to it," said second-year head coach Danny Randolph.  "I am extremely proud of our team and all they have accomplished as their hard work and perseverance has paid off.  We carried ourselves with confidence and class and no better group deserves to call themselves national champions."

Nova Southeastern started the day with one goal, winning its fifth straight national crown. However, the Fighting Knights had other plans. The two teams would exchange a one-stroke lead throughout the first sixteen holes, but it was evident when Louise Manalo put ball in the hole on the 18th green that Lynn would emerge victorious, earning the fourth title in program history.

Ellen Chambers and Samathan Smolen were on point through the front nine holes, shooting even par. Chambers posted the lowest score of the day for the Fighting Knights, 75, and played nearly flawless golf by shooting even par through the first 13 holes. She finished fourth individually.  Smolen, who tied for ninth, and Calvo each carded 76s while Jessica Bradley finished +6 with a 78.

Manalo proved to be at her best when the team needed her most.  The sophomore out of Brussels, Belgium set career-bests for 18 and 54-hole totals when she carded a 69 on the second day and logged a 218 through three rounds, topping her previous 54-hole total by a whopping 14 shots while also tying a program-record.  The last Knight to turn in her score card, Manalo totaled a 79 on the day and placed sixth.

"I had an overwhelming sense of joy knowing we had just won the national championship when I walked off No.18," Manalo added.  "I'm very proud of my team and feel this is well deserved because it was a group effort that got us here and helped us win.  We all have each others back and that is what a team is about."

With Lynn (1,187) taking the crown, fellow Sunshine State Conference schools Nova Southeastern (1,190) and Barry University (1,194) placed second and third with St. Edward’s (1,226) and Grand Canyon (1,235) rounding out the top five teams. Barry’s Nancy Vergara was named the individual national champion when she topped the player board with a 291. NSU’s Linnea Johansson (292) and Daniela Ortiz (294) finished second and third overall.

The Sunshine State Conference has now claimed every NCAA Division II women's golf national title since 2000 and 15 overall when Divisions II and III combined for its championship from 1997-99.  Additionally,  SSC schools have finished as the runner-up 11 times.

Lynn improved its record to a perfect 4-0 at the LGPA International Legends Course this season, claiming victories at the NCAA D2 Preview, SMSU Invitational and Bash-at-the-Beach Invitational previously.  Adding to history, the Blue & White set team program records for tournament victories in a season (six), team stroke-average (76.97) and top-10 finishes (31)

The Fighting Knights return all five golfers, all of which garnered All-America honors from the Women’s Golf Coaches Association. To learn more about the Lynn University women’s golf team log on to www.Lynn FighitngKnights.com. Don’t forget to ‘Like’ us on Facebook to see the celebration photos!

Team Result
Lynn (301-288-293-305=1187/1st)

Individual Results
Ellen Chambers (74-73-73-75=295/4th)
Louise Manalo (75-69-74-79=297/6th)
Samantha Smolen (81-69-74-76=300/T-9th)
Jessica Bradley (76-77-72-78=303/T-14th)
Irene Calvo (76-82-75-76=309/T-29th)

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