DeLand, Fla. - The Stetson women's golf team rallied from a three-shot deficit starting the day with a three over par 291 final round score to claim its third consecutive Atlantic Sun Conference Championship on Wednesday at Victoria Hills Golf Club. Sophomore Alexandria Buelow (Palm City, Fla.) shot one under par 71 and cruised home to a five-stroke victory in the individual competition. The Hatters advance to their third straight NCAA East Regional appearance.
Buelow birdied the first and 18th holes of her final round and made par on 15 of the 16 holes in between, finishing the 54-hole tournament at even par, five strokes ahead of the closest competitor. Three of the five Hatters finished with birdies on 18 as junior Lauren Cate (St. Augustine, Fla.) and freshman Mallory Viera (Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.) did likewise. Cate finished with even par 72 to tie for fifth place at eight over par and earn All-Tournament Team honors.
Viera tied for seventh in her first career postseason event, using a final round 73 to come in at 10 over par overall while freshman Ryan Ashburn (Largo, Fla.) tied for 13th at 13 over par with a final round 75. Freshman Sammi Smith (Louisville, Ky.) completed Stetson's contingent with a 77 for a 19 over par final score and a tie for 21st place.
Buelow joins 2009 champion Danielle Jackson '10 as Stetson's second A-Sun titlist in the last three years; she previously was named 2010 A-Sun Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year and found the winner's circle for the third time in 2010-11. FGCU's Fabienne Haremza placed second at five over par with the Campbell duo of Sarah Bejgrowicz and Michelle Koh tying for third place at +7. Cate and FGCU's Briana Carlson rounded out the top five at eight over par.
Stetson's steady play in the final round allowed it to finish at 30 over par 894 for the week, 12 strokes ahead of runner-up Campbell, competing in its final A-Sun Championship before departing for the Big South Conference next season. ETSU, FGCU and Kennesaw State finished in a three-way tie for third at 53 over par with Mercer (+62), Jacksonville (+81), Belmont (+82), Lipscomb (+134) and USC Upstate (+139).
NCAA regional selection announcements will be made later this month, but the Hatters are already ticketed for the East Regional at LPGA International's Legends Course in nearby Daytona Beach due to the fact that Stetson is the host institution for that tournament.