Story By Trevor Lininger, NAIA Athletics Communications and Media Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced that the 2019 and 2020 Women’s Golf National Championships will be hosted by Oklahoma City University. The 25th and 26th annual championships will be played at Lincoln Park Golf Course in Oklahoma City on May 14-17, 2019, and May 12-15, 2020.
“We are tremendously excited to have the 2019 and 2020 NAIA Women’s Golf National Championships hosted by Oklahoma City University,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. “It’s not every day that our student-athletes have the opportunity to play on a course with the quality of Lincoln Park Golf Course. Having hosted numerous successful National Championships, I’m confident that our friends at OCU will further enhance the strong tradition of the event.”
This will be Oklahoma City and Lincoln Park’s first time hosting the Women’s Golf National Championships. The tournament will be held of the West Course at Lincoln Park Golf Course. PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., hosted the championship in 2017, and will host again this upcoming year in 2018. While OCU has not hosted the event, it is no stranger to women’s golf. OCU captured its eighth NAIA Women’s Golf National Championship in 2017, more championships than any other women’s golf program in NAIA history.
“It is a privilege for our program to be selected to host the NAIA Women’s Golf National Championships in 2019 and 2020. It is an honor, not just for our program, but also for Oklahoma City University to be associated with such a prestigious collegiate championship,” said Marty McCauley, Oklahoma City University women’s golf coach. “We are certainly looking forward to working with Lincoln Park to help promote this championship and ensure that it is memorable for all coaches and student-athletes. Hosting this championship is very meaningful as golf in the state of Oklahoma is very popular, and this is a testament to the support golf receives in the Oklahoma City community and throughout the entire state.”
Oklahoma City is home to the OCU Stars, a current member of the NAIA in the Sooner Athletic Conference. OCU currently sponsors 21 sports. The Stars captured four separate NAIA National Championships in 2016-17, which includes Division I Women’s Basketball, Competitive Cheerleading, Women’s Golf and Softball. OCU has served as the host for several different National Championships over the years, and is also the current host for the Competitive Cheer and Dance National Championship.
“We are grateful to Lincoln Park, the Oklahoma City Golf Commission and the city of Oklahoma City for their support and interest in bringing this event to Oklahoma City,” said Jim Abbott, Oklahoma City University Assistant Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics. “We look forward to hosting teams and fans from across the country in what promises to be a memorable championship.”
The NAIA Women’s Golf National Championship started in 1995 and will celebrate its 24th Anniversary with the upcoming 2018 championship. While 167 total schools in the NAIA participate in women’s golf, the championship has seen only nine different schools win in 23 previous years. The first national champion was Lynn University (Fla.), who defeated Hardin-Simmons (Texas) by 29 strokes.
Lincoln Park rates as one of Oklahoma's finest public golf courses. Oklahoma City's oldest public golf course unveiled its new state-of-the-art $9.25 million club house in spring 2015. The course was designed by Art Jackson and built in 1922. It features bent grass on the greens and Bermuda grass on the fairways.
“It is an honor for Oklahoma City to be selected as the host city for the NAIA Women's Golf Championship tournament in 2019 and 2020,” said Mike Carrier, Oklahoma City Convention & Visitor Bureau President. “The NAIA has been a wonderful friend to OKC and with nine member institutions in the state it is certainly fitting that we should be hosting their championship events here. We are proud to work with Jim Abbott and the entire team at Oklahoma City University that led the charge to bring this wonderful event to Lincoln Park.”
Since 1937, the NAIA has administered programs and championships in proper balance with the overall educational experience. In 2000, the NAIA reaffirmed its purpose to enhance the character-building aspects of sport. Through the Champions of Character program, the NAIA seeks to create an environment in which every student-athlete, coach, official and spectator is committed to the true spirit of competition through five core values: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.