California Baptist Wins National Championship
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - (Complete Results) California Baptist captured its first-ever 2011 NAIA Women’s Golf National Championship, winning in a playoff against Embry-Riddle (Fla.) at Link Hills Country Club on Friday. The Lancers Nathalie Silva sunk the tying birdie on No. 18 to tie the Eagles at 1252 to force the extra hole. It was the first time in the event’s 17-year history that a playoff was needed to determine the national champion.
“It’s pretty incredible,” California Baptist head women’s golf coach Lane Pace said. “The last four years we have had really good teams and good finishes, but we could never quite get over the hump. The girls worked really hard. This is a tough golf course and it’s a tough walk. We knew that if we just hung in there and kept playing our game we could come through. Nathalie [Silva] came through and made the birdie putt on the last hole to tie and then we had the playoff and we played it well. It’s incredible.”
On the decisive hole, the Lancers were able to get all five players to the green of the par-4 No. 4 on their second shots. However, Embry-Riddle had a pair of second shots land in the rough to the left of the green. California Baptist counted three pars and Sara Koizumi sunk a marquee putt for birdie to clinch the title.
“If you would have told me that Embry-Riddle was going to shoot something that started with a three-zero, I would have told you that they probably would have won,” Pace said. “That’s just how tough of a golf course this is and being the last day of the national tournament. My girls came out firing and it was a team effort.”
The Eagles took second-place honors for the second time in program history, previously finishing as the runner-up in 2008. Embry-Riddle posted rounds of 323-305-315-309—1252. Shorter (Ga.) placed third with a 326-305-319-304—1254, and was followed by Oklahoma City in fourth at 330-306-314-305—1255 and Lubbock Christian (Texas) rounded out the top-five teams at 325-302-324-314—1265.
Kylie Barros of British Columbia won national medalist honors with a four-day total of 73-74-75-75—297. Barros is the first British Columbia player to claim the individual title after falling in a playoff a season ago. She finished four strokes ahead of runner-up Danielle Bellet of Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.), who rallied from a 4-over-par 77 in the first round with rounds of 74, 75 and 75 to total 301.
After winning national medalist honors in 2010, Silva placed third with a 10-over-par 302. Embry-Riddles Fabys Barreto-Guzman and Laura Jones of Oklahoma City tied for fourth with 303s to round out the top-five individuals. Golfers that placed among the top 15 were named to the All-Tournament Team. California Baptist, Embry-Riddle and Shorter each had a pair of players land a spot on the team.
For his team’s performance, Pace was named the NAIA-Women’s Golf Coaches Association Coach of the Year.
Carol Galindo of Northwood (Texas) became the second player in the four rounds of action at Link Hills Country Club to connect on a hole-in-one. She joined Lubbock Christian’s Shelbye Hill, as the freshman used a 7-wood to sink a hole-in-one from 170 yards out on No. 6.
“That was my first-ever hole-in-one; I haven’t even been close before,” Galindo said. “I saw the ball bounce, hit the green and roll in. I actually thought it was going to roll past the hole. I threw my hands up in the air I was so shocked, it was just crazy. I didn’t know how to handle myself.”
There have been 55 individuals that have previously aced the sixth hole, only three of which have been women. The last time that a woman golfer knocked in a hole-in-one on No. 6 occurred in September 1996.
Kylie Barros, British Columbia
Danielle Bellet, Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)
Nathalie Silva, California Baptist
Laura Jones, Oklahoma City
Fabys Barreto-Guzman, Embry-Riddle (Fla.)
Greta Lange, Shorter (Ga.)
Kaelyn Lingenfelter, Bethel (Ind.)
Pia Jenko, Embry-Riddle (Fla.)
Anna Schoop, Lubbock Christian (Texas)
Nikki Stewart, SCAD Savannah (Ga.)
Jamie Palermo, William Woods (Mo.)
Lisa Persson, Shorter (Ga.)
Sara Koizumi, California Baptist
Megan Woodland, Victoria (B.C.)
Courtney Shelton, Lee (Tenn.)