HOUSTON — Just like two heavyweight fighters, the Rhodes College and George Fox University women’s golf teams went toe-to-toe and shot-for-shot for 18 holes in the final round of the 2017 NCAA Division III Women’s Golf National Championships on Friday. But the knockout blow didn’t land until Rhodes College’s Nikki Isaacson sank a par putt on the 72nd hole to give the Lynx their second consecutive national title and third in the last four years.
Rhodes finished with a 301-300-306-310 for a total of 1,217 to edge George Fox’s 303-303-297-311=1,219 by two strokes. Wittenberg University climbed to third place, finishing with a 1,229 total, including a final round 312. Williams College slipped to fourth place after a final round 321 dropped the Ephs to a 1,235 total for the tournament. UT-Tyler and New York University tied for fifth place in the team standings after both teams finished at 1,246.
Looks like we need to update this https://t.co/aPdFOREdLf
— Rhodes Athletics (@RhodesAthletics) May 12, 2017
Bridgewater College’s Christina Herbert carded a final round 74 to win the individual championship with a four-day total of 293. Wittenberg’s Macy Hubbard and Rhodes’ Isaacson tied for second place at 295. Jane Hopkinson-Wood of Wittenberg took fourth place with a 297 and Margaret Loncki of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps tied Washington-St. Louis’ Samantha Haubenstock for fifth place at 299. Loncki’s final round, 3-under 69 was the low individual score of the day as she posted an eagle and three birdies over a five-hole stretch on the front nine. Berry College’s Sydney Weaver and Kristin Elich of George Fox tied for seventh place with 300’s and Redlands’ Caroline Ordian, the defending individual champion, tied for ninth place with Johnna Beehner of Methodist University at 303.
With consecutive national titles, Rhodes College becomes the first Division III repeat women’s golf national champion since Methodist won the last of 13 straight titles in 2012. The Lynx also join the Monarchs as the only two programs to win multiple Division III women’s golf championships. Herbert’s individual title is the first national championship in the five-year history of the Eagles’ women’s golf program. Friday’s final round was the first of the week played in full sunshine, but northerly winds picked up throughout the day with the passage of a cool front. Overcast and breezy conditions ruled the first three days of the tournament.
The four-day, 72-hole tournament was played on a par-72, 5,869-yard layout at Bay Oaks Country Club in Houston. This was the second straight year Bay Oaks hosted the championship. The field was cut to the low 15 teams and six individuals for the final round of the tournament for the first time in the history of the event. Twenty-two teams and six individuals played the first three days for a 116-player field. The 2017 Championship was the 18th conducted since the NCAA separated the Division II and Division III Women’s Golf National Championships in 2000.