By Bruce Meadows
The Sonoma State men’s and women’s golf teams have qualified for the national tournament following play at Foxtail in Rohnert Park and Hiddenbrooke in Vallejo earlier this week.
The Sonoma State men scored a 906 (+42) and placed second out of 20 teams at the NCAA Division II West/South Central Regional to qualify for the NCAA Division II Men’s Golf National Championships for the sixth time in program history, and for the first time since 2011.
The Seawolves will head to Rock Barn Golf & Spa in Conover, North Carolina on May 18-22 with four other teams from the West/South Central event — team champion Cal State Monterey Bay, Chico State, Simon Fraser and West Texas A&M.
The Sonoma State women’s golf team fell from first place to third in Wednesday’s final round, but its finish qualifies the team for the 2015 NCAA Division II Women’s Golf Championships on May 13-16 in Allendale, Michigan. It will be the program’s second-ever appearance in the national tournament and the first since 2010.
The Seawolves carded a team score of 308 (+38), ending the NCAA Division II Super Region 4 Tournament at Foxtail Golf Club nine strokes back of champion Tarleton State, which brought in a Wednesday-best 295 as a team to score an 893 (+29) for the week, just five shots ahead of runner-up St. Edward’s (Texas), which fired an 898 (+34).
Brandon Lee led the charge for Sonoma State, placing eighth out of 107 participants in this week’s 54-hole event with a 221 (+5), just four shots behind individual co-medalists Patrick Skakel of Colorado-Colorado Springs and Ray Richards of Cal State Monterey Bay, who both fired a one-over-par 217 for the week. Eric Ash tied for 25th at 228 (+12), Nicolas Daniels was tied for 31st with a 229 (+13), Kenny Maroney tied for 47th with a score of 233 (+17) and Justin Shluker tied for 53rd after scoring a 234 (+18).
Cal State Monterey Bay, which finished fourth in last year’s Regional and placed fifth at Nationals, ran away with the Regional title this season, firing an 887 (+23), a whole 19 strokes ahead of runner-up Sonoma State. Chico State and Simon Fraser tied for third with a score of 908 (+44) and West Texas A&M moved from 10th place after day one to fifth place after round three to secure the fifth and final bid to Nationals, totaling a 913 (+49) for the week.
Sonoma State won the NCAA Division II National Championship in 2009, highlighting its previous five trips to Nationals that also saw finishes of fourth (2010), 11th (2011), 13th (2007) and 16th (2008).
Sarah Rotter was Sonoma State’s top female finisher, placing in a tie for 10th place after rounds of 71, 73 and 79 for a score of 223 (+7). Had she not bogeyed the final four holes, Rotter would have been crowned as the regional champion at three-over-par. Instead, Midwestern State’s Brenna Moore and Academy of Art’s Crystal Wang shared medalist honors with a four-over-par 220 for the tournament, placing ahead of three others by just one shot.
Moore and Wang, as well as Leina Kim of Colorado State-Pueblo, will represent
the West Region as the three advancing individuals — Kim (221; +5) defeated
Dallas Baptist’s Sydney Williams in a one-hole playoff to determine the third
and final individual not with an advancing team to qualify for Nationals.
Kim, Williams and Tarleton State’s Isabel Jimenez-Parea all tied for third, but
since Jimenez-Parea is already advancing to Michigan with the TexAnns, it was
up to Kim and Williams to duke it out for the final individual spot.
Complementing Rotter’s effort, Hannah Gregg rolled in the second-most pars in the tournament, recording 40 in the 54 holes she played, accounting for the 77-73-75–225 (+9) and the tie for 15th place. Alexis Hayes tied for 26th with scores of 71, 78 and 80, bringing in a score of 229 (+13). Haley Whitbeck finished 30th with a 231 (+15) despite being the Seawolves’ top golfer for the round on Wednesday, following a 75 and 82 in the first two rounds with a 74 in the third round. Erin Martens brought in an 86-76-86–248 (+32) to finish tied for 47th.
In the team standings finishing behind Tarleton State, St. Edward’s and Sonoma
State was California Baptist and West Texas A&M, which tied for fourth with
a score of 908 (+44), Newman (915; +51), Midwestern State (917; +53), Academy
of Art (917; +53) and Dallas Baptist (918; +54).
Sonoma State’s only trip to Nationals in program history came after a third
place finish at the 2010 Regional at Tascosa Country Club in Amarillo,
Texas. The Seawolves went on to finish fifth at Nationals that year,
which took place at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa
SSU Men, Women Qualify for Nationals
By Bruce Meadows