Panthers Women’s Golfers Earn Bid To Regionals
By Space Coast Daily // May 1, 2013
At Lakeland May 5 to 7
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Florida Tech women’s golf team has received its first-ever invitation to play in the NCAA Division II South Super Regional.
The Panthers have had three individuals qualify for the regional tournament in the program’s 10 years, but this is the first time the whole team will advance to the May 5 to 7 tournament at Lone Palm Golf Club in Lakeland. The most recent qualifier under head coach Chris Saltmarsh came in 2011 from now-senior Jessica Hook.
“I’m very excited for this team to be the very first women’s golf team in FIT history to compete at the regional championship,” Saltmarsh said. “Jessica is the only player on the team to experience regionals as an individual in her sophomore season. So this young squad will need to pull from its U.S. Women’s Invitational win experience to make a run at getting to the national championship.”
The other two came in 2007 and 2009 from current LPGA professional Daniela Iacobelli, who became Florida Tech’s first individual national champion during her sophomore campaign.
The top nine teams from the South Region were selected to participate in this year’s championship, with the top three individuals also qualifying.
The top three teams—and three individuals not on one of those teams—will qualify for the NCAA Division II National Championship at LPGA International in Daytona Beach.
Florida Tech was selected as the No. 6 team in the South Region and boasts a No. 9 national ranking according to the Golf World/Women’s Golf Coaches Association Poll.
The Sunshine State Conference will be represented by six teams in the nine-team field, with the top five slots going to the SSC in the form of Nova Southeastern, Lynn, Rollins, Florida Southern and Barry. Filling out the field will be West Florida, Armstrong and Newberry.
“The goal of getting to regionals was set in the beginning of the year,” Saltmarsh said. “Our new goal is to raise it even higher in reaching the national championship, either by winning at the regional level, or finishing in the top three.”
The Panthers have been led this season by a pair of individual tournament champions in sophomore Rachel Polson and Hook. Polson’s victory came in the fall at the NCAA Fall Preview at LPGA International. Hook earned her win in leading FIT to a team victory at the U.S. Women’s Invitational, the final regular season tournament prior to the SSC Championship.
Both Florida Tech’s men’s and women’s teams will compete in their respective regional tournaments next week. The men’s squad was selected as the No. 9 team in the South Region last Friday.