Florida Tech’s Felicia Leftinger Lands Spot In National Championship In Women’s Golf
By Florida Tech // May 5, 2016
Felicia a Trollhattan, Sweden native
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – While the rest of the Florida Tech lineup continued its untimely struggles, senior Felicia Leftinger bought herself a couple more weeks in Crimson and Gray by individually qualifying for the national championship Wednesday at the NCAA Division II Super Region Two Championship.
The Trollhattan, Sweden native bounced back from a rough finish in Tuesday’s round with a two-over 74 to garner the program’s fourth-ever title bid and a tie for third overall.
Leftinger joins teammate Guro Rambjoer and former Panther Johanna Larsson to give Florida Tech a representative at the national championship in each of the past three seasons.
“She played solid all day,” said Florida Tech Head Coach Chris Saltmarsh. “Obviously, I think she knew what was on the line just as much as everyone else did.
“I think it shows the depth of the individuals that we’ve recruited. Soon enough, we’ll get there as a team, but I certainly think it’s big for the program every year that we have an opportunity to send anyone to the national championship.”
Per tournament rules, the top three programs along with the three best individuals from non-advancing teams were in the running to advance to the championships set to be held at CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora, Colorado.
With the Panthers’ chances collectively out of reach, the nation’s ninth-ranked player pared the final five holes down the stretch, coming up just two shots shy of eventual individual medalist, Jamie Freedman, of Nova Southeastern.
Felicia Leftinger capped the tourney at four-over, while her eight total birdies tied for fourth-most among the 66 competitors in this week’s field.
Even sitting on the outside-looking-in to begin the morning, a late-round push wouldn’t have come as much surprise from a team that won four tournaments throughout the spring. However, the anticipated run never came as Florida Tech settled for a share of sixth with Barry at 60-over for the week.
Rambjoer captured a 29th-place tie following a nine-over 81 in the third round. In addition, Paola Ortiz earned a tie for 33rd, while juniors Brittany LaPadula and Sarah Thomas concluded play tied for 39th and 65th, respectively.
Despite the circumstances, Saltmarsh believes there’s nothing to be ashamed of following another season in which his team reached as high as No. 1 in the polls.
“We had a great season,” he said.
“I’m proud of every one of the girls for their efforts and everything that’s gone on. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t get the ball bouncing the right way towards the end.”
The Sunshine State Conference didn’t fail to disappoint as Nova Southeastern edged Rollins and Saint Leo for the regional crown, giving the league all three national championship bids.
Final Team Standings (Top-10)
1. Nova Southeastern (+30) 894
2. Rollins (+34) 898
3. Saint Leo (+38) 902
4. West Florida (+47) 911
5. Montevallo (+52) 916
T6. Florida Tech (+60) 924
T6. Barry (+60) 924
8. Flagler (+61) 925
9. Lynn (+69) 933
10. Armstrong State (+70) 934