HOUSTON, Texas (via Rhodes sports info) - For the second consecutive year and the third time in the last four seasons, the Rhodes College women's golf team has claimed the National Championship, holding off George Fox by two strokes to claim the title at Bay Oaks Country Club.
Unlike their previous two titles, Rhodes had to fight and claw their way to the top, as the Lynx and Bruins battled throughout the day. Rhodes entered the final round four strokes back, came back to overtake the lead, and held off George Fox on the final two holes for the win.
Rhodes shot a 310 on Friday for a four round score of 1217 (301-300-306-310) while the Bruins shot a 316 for a four round score of 1219 (303-303-297-316). Wittenberg placed third with a four round score of 1229 (314-298-305-312) while Williams was fourth at 1235 (303-303-308-321). NYU and Texas-Tyler rounded out the top five at 1246.
Late in the championship round, with all five golfers moving towards 18, the event was tied. Rhodes showed championship-tested composure in the final holes as four of the five golfers pared 18 en rout to their third national title.
The Lynx got a pair of terrific final round performances from their seniors as Nikki Isaacson and Mackenzie Cohen each shot a 76 while Sarahanne Vaughan shot a 78. Sophomore Emily Salamy pitched in an 80 while sophomore Melissa Kiker shot an 85.
Isaacson, who was terrific all weekend, placed second individually after a four round score of 295 (71-77-71-76). Her par putt on 18 sealed the deal for the Lynx. Salamy placed 14th with a score of 305 (77-68-80-80) while Vaughan was 24th at 311 (81-77-75-78). Cohen finished 25th at 312 (76-80-80-76) while Kiker rounded the weekend out with a score of 325 (77-78-85-85).
As a team, Rhodes led the field in Par 3 scoring by eight strokes at +13 over the week and were second in Par 5 scoring at +15 and birdies with 38. The Lynx also had two eagles on the week.
Part of the reason Rhodes was so successful at Par 3 scoring was because of Salamy and Isaacson, who finished 1-2 in Par 3 scoring at -1 and E, respectively. Isaacson won second in Par 4 scoring at +4.
For seniors Isaacson and Vaughan, it wraps up an astounding career as they are champions for the third time in their illustrious four year career. Cohen, also a senior, claims her second NCAA Title along with Salamy and Kiker. The senior trio of Isaacson, Vaughan, and Cohen put the golf program back on the map, then brought it to new heights, and now leave it as the new dynasty in women's golf.
Rhodes broke a record during the event as Salamy shot a 68 in round two to set a new NCAA Championship Record for low-round by an individual. The Lynx put together the second highest score in NCAA history for a 72-hole round, just two strokes off Methodist's record of 1215.
The Lynx, along with Methodist, are the only two Division III programs to win multiple National Championships and Rhodes now joins the Monarchs as they only team to win consecutive national titles. It is also the second time Rhodes has won at Bay Oaks Country Club in Houston, winning the National Championship at the same venue just one year ago with a three round score of 904.
The four-day, 72-hole tournament was played on a par-72, 5,869-yard layout at Bay Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas. 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.
Championship recap via Rhodes sports info