The Stetson University women’s golf team will travel north to Jacksonville this weekend for the start of the spring season. The Hatters will play in the JU Amelia Island Collegiate Tournament, hosted by Jacksonville University.
The team will play a practice round on Sunday at the Amelia National Golf & Country Club in Fernandina Beach. The tournament will begin with 36 holes of competition on Monday, with a final 18 holes of play scheduled for Tuesday.
The Hatters will send their five seniors out together for the first time in the 2013-14 season. That group – which includes Ryan Ashburn, Jenna Hoecker, Claudia Redinger, Sammi Smith and Mallory Viera – played together throughout the 2012-13 season, but has received stiff competition from younger members of the squad this year.
The seniors earned the right to play by topping the younger players during extensive qualifying for the first event of the spring.
“If you don’t shoot well during qualifying, you don’t make the cut,” Hatters coach Floyd Kerr said. “It is no different that being out on the tour. If you don’t play well on Thursday and Friday, you don’t get to play on the weekend.”
During the fall season, only Viera, who averaged 76.29 strokes per round, was among the top three on the squad in scoring average. Freshmen Alessandra Kutz led the team in the fall with a 74.21 scoring average over 14 rounds of play while another freshman, Giulia Vandenberg, was third with a 76.31 average over a team-high 16 rounds.
“I am sure those two freshmen aren’t happy about not playing this week,” Kerr said. “Hopefully this will serve as motivation for them so that they won’t let it happen again.”
In addition to the Hatters, who are ranked 105th in the nation going into the spring season, and JU (146), the rest of the tournament field includes teams from Cincinnati (112), Daytona State, Florida Atlantic (206), Florida International (72), Illinois State (135), Kennesaw State (97), North Florida (136), Winthrop (134), Wofford (126) and Xavier (89).
Daytona State is the No. 1 ranked junior college team in the nation and is the defensing NJCAA National Champions.
The only player in the field that is ranked among the top 100 in the nation, according to GolfStat, is Kennesaw State’s Ines Lescudier, who is tied for 96th with a 73.33 scoring average.
Live scoring from the tournament will be available on GolfStat.com.