FIT Golf Head Coach Chris Saltmarsh Named National Coach of the Year, Three Panthers Earn All-American Honors

By  //  May 21, 2019

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first women's golf coach in school history to be voted Division II coach of the year

Florida Tech head coach Chris Saltmarsh has been named the 2018-19 Golf Pride WGCA National Coach of the Year after leading the Panthers to a national title last week. Additionally, Noelle Beijer, Lucy Eaton and Paola Ortiz were bestowed with All-American honors. (FIT Image)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Florida Tech head coach Chris Saltmarsh has been named the 2018-19 Golf Pride WGCA National Coach of the Year after leading the Panthers to a national title last week.

Additionally, Noelle Beijer, Lucy Eaton and Paola Ortiz were bestowed with All-American honors.

Saltmarsh becomes the first women’s golf coach in school history to be voted the Division II coach of the year by the WGCA. This year, he brilliantly navigated the women’s golf program through a difficult season following the February announcement of the discontinuation of the program following this spring.

Florida Tech won four total tournaments in 2018-19, including the NCAA National Championship where the Panthers made their first ever appearance as a team this season.

Florida Tech won four total tournaments in 2018-19, including the NCAA National Championship where the Panthers made their first ever appearance as a team this season. (FIT Image)

Saltmarsh, who is in his ninth season as head golf coach, guided the Crimson & Gray to a Top-7 finish in all 12 tournaments this year, including eight consecutive Top-6 results since the announcement of the discontinuing of the program.

A trio of Florida Tech golfers were also honored by the WGCA as Beijer and Eaton were recognized to the All-American second team while Ortiz earned honorable mention honors.

It’s the first time in Beijer’s career that she has been named All-American. Beijer recently finished tied for fourth individually at the NCAA Division II Championships in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida with a 54-holes score of 223 (+4). Beijer is the No. 36-ranked player in the nation by GolfStat.com with a scoring average of 75.11 over 28 rounds.

This season, Beijer won the Peggy Kirk Bell Invitational individual title at 212 (-4) after posting a final round 67 (-5), which is the lowest round in tournament history, and the second lowest in program history.

This season, Beijer won the Peggy Kirk Bell Invitational individual title at 212 (-4) after posting a final round 67 (-5), which is the lowest round in tournament history, and the second lowest in program history. (FIT Image)

The Assendelft, Netherlands product ranks seventh in program history with two career wins.

This is the first All-American award for Eaton, who claimed third individually at the NCAA Championships last week. She ended with a three-round total of 222 (+3) to earn her seventh consecutive top-7 finish at a tournament.

Lucy Eaton picked up her first career individual win during Florida Tech’s 13-shot victory at the Battle at Hilton Head early this spring as she recorded a 145 (+1) over the 36 holes. (FIT Image)

The Yorkshire, England native is the 14th-ranked player in the nation according to GolfStat with an average score of 75.09 over 35 rounds.

Eaton picked up her first career individual win during Florida Tech’s 13-shot victory at the Battle at Hilton Head early this spring as she recorded a 145 (+1) over the 36 holes.

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Ortiz earns her second career WGCA All-American honor with this year’s selection after earning second-team laurels in 2017. The Morelia, Mexico product played a major role in the Panthers’ national championship winning two of her three match play rounds by multiple strokes. This year she boasted a scoring average of 74.82 over 26 rounds of golf.

Ortiz collected four Top-10 results this season including a season-best fifth place finish at 217 (+1) at the Lady Moc Classic earlier this spring.

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