SUNDAY, MARCH 23, 2014
Women’s Golf Captures First Tournament Title in Seven Years
Bottom Row (L-R): Jessica Welch, Francesca Yong, Sabrina Rumbaugh; Top Row (L-R): Morgan Matchett, Natalie Schmett, Megan Collins
Bottom Row (L-R): Jessica Welch, Francesca Yong, Sabrina Rumbaugh; Top Row (L-R): Morgan Matchett, Natalie Schmett, Megan Collins
CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. – Behind a six-under par round of 66 from Jessica Welch, the Jacksonville University women’s golf team captured its first tournament title since 2006-07 and shattered a number of program records in the process on Sunday at the Cincinnati Spring Invitational. The Dolphins entered the final round three shots back of Lynn in the overall standings, but recorded a team score of two-under 286 to take home a seven-stroke victory.

Welch entered the day in a tie for the overall lead, and took control of the chase for the individual title with a 32 on the front nine, including back-to-back birdies on Nos. 8 and 9. She then closed out her bogey-free round with birdies on both par fives on the back side, winning medalist honors by five shots over Ali Kruse of Seton Hall. It is the first career tournament victory for Welch, who previously had recorded the lowest score in a dual match against Princeton in the 2011-12 campaign. The 66 she shot was the lowest single round ever by a Dolphin golfer, breaking the 67 she shot last season in the first round of the Atlantic Sun Championship. Her three-round total of 211 also set a new 54-hole mark, breaking her record of 216 set at the A-Sun Championship.

It took more than just Welch for Jacksonville to claim the title though. Morgan Matchett was steady throughout the day, balancing out two bogeys with a pair of birdies in her final round for an even-par 72. She ended her tournament in a tie for 15th place. Natalie Schmett turned in a score of 73 to finish eighth overall with a 54-hole score of 222 (+6). Sabrina Rumbaugh lost a bit of ground on the back nine, but ended with a 75 and tied with Matchett for 15th place. Megan Collins added a round of 76 to finish in a tie for 44th, while Francesca Yong closed out with an 86 in her spring season debut, finishing in a tie for 74th.

Taken together, the JU team score of 286 on the day was the best final round in program history, and just one stroke behind the best round of golf ever recorded by the Dolphins, a round of 285 set last month at the Amelia Island Collegiate. The Dolphins had also set a 54-hole team record at that event, with a score of 894. That record lasted just over a month as Jacksonville shot an 887 this weekend.

“I’m so proud of the girls for fighting as hard as they did this week,” said Head Coach Jen Borocz. “Shooting a 286 was a phenomenal score today and I look forward to the momentum this gives us going into the Web.com Intercollegiate and the Atlantic Sun Championship. It was also great to see the hard work from Jessica finally pay off with her first tournament title!”

The Dolphins now return home to host the Web.com Intercollegiate on April 7-8 at the Marsh Landing Country Club here in Jacksonville.

1 Jessica Welch 75-70-66 = 211
8 Natalie Schmett 75-74-73 = 222
T15 Morgan Matchett 81-74-72 = 227
T15 Sabrina Rumbaugh 77-75-75 = 227
T44 Megan Collins 83-78-76 = 237
T74 Francesca Yong 82-83-86 = 251