No. 1 Shorter learns 1st round tee time for National Championship
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. -- The No. 1-ranked Shorter University women's golf team will begin the 2011 NAIA Women's Golf National Championship as it ended nearly half of the tournaments it competed in during the 2010-11 season: first.
The Lady Hawks will kick off first round play at the Link Hills Country Club in Greeneville, Tenn., on May 17 at 8 a.m., alongside ninth-ranked Northwood University (Fla.) and 19th-ranked Lindenwood University (Mo.) at the No. 1 tee.
Defending national champion British Columbia, University of South Carolina-Beaufort and Dakota Wesleyan will also tee off at 8 a.m. starting on the No. 10 tee.
Shorter, two weeks removed from winning the Southern States Athletic Conference championship in Columbus, is in search of the school's first women's golf national championship. The Lady Hawks' previous high finish was seventh under the direction of former head coach and current Shorter women's basketball head coach Vic Mitchell.
The Lady Hawks, led by 2011 SSAC Women's Golf Coach of the Year Greg Owens, enter the event with arguably its deepest and most talented roster ever. Shorter's women have finished either first or second in all 11 events they have played this season -- a run that includes five tournament victories.
Leading the way is 2010 NAIA All-American Greta Lange. Lange, just a sophomore, has a pair of tournament victories on the season and shared runner-up honors with teammate and freshman Maria Bengtsson at the SSAC Championships.
She helped the Lady Hawks to a 17th place finish at last year's national championships as a freshman and this season, after winning an NAIA National Golfer of the Week honor, was named the SSAC Women's Golfer of the Year.
Freshman Lisa Persson, the 2011 SSAC Women's Golf Freshman of the Year, may be the hottest Lady Hawk entering the championships.
Persson has wins at two of the biggest tournaments of the season, taking medalist honors at the SSAC Championships and the prestigious NAIA Preview Tournament, which took place in the fall at Link Hills -- the same site as the national championship.
The 129-player field for the national championships is comprised of 17 automatic qualifying teams from conferences/independents/unaffiliated group tournaments and eight at-large selections, which were determined using the final NAIA Women's Golf Coaches' Top 25 Poll released on Thursday.
Four individuals earned a spot in the event as the medalist at their respective conference/independent/unaffiliated group tournament.