For the second time in program history, the West Texas A&M women’s golf team will be competing in the NCAA National Championship at the 2016 NCAA Division II National Championships Festival in Denver, Colo., Wednesday through Saturday.
“The team is prepared and confident going into the national championship this week,” Lady Buff head women’s golf coach Meredith Jameson said. “Everyone struck the ball very well in practice this week. We have been focusing quite a bit on routine and mental strategies. Since the team played CommonGround Golf Course in the NCAA Preview in September, we know the course well.”
The Lady Buffs finished ninth in the fall with a 36-hole score of 612. WT is one of five teams in the national championship who played in the NCAA Preview last fall. Tarleton State, Augustana (S.D.), Nova Southeastern (Fla.) and Dallas Baptist were the other four. In the fall, WT senior Whitlee Woods finished a team-best tie for eighth with a 6-over 150. Augustana finished third, while Dallas Baptist was second, Nova Southeastern was sixth and Tarleton State won the 20-team championship.
This year’s national field consists of 12 teams from each of the four super regionals, along with the top 12 individuals from non-advancing teams. In the latest Golfstat rankings, Rollins (Fla.) is the top-ranked team in the nation, followed by No. 4 Nova Southeastern, No. 5 Saint Leo (Fla.), No. 7 Tarleton State, No. 10 Indianapolis, No. 11 Dallas Baptist, No. 12 Grand Valley State (Mich.), No. 13 Northeastern State (Okla.), No. 17 Augustana, No. 28 West Texas A&M, No. 30 Findlay (Ohio) and No. 58 Missouri Western State.
“The main components players need to be aware of while playing the course are the length, which is playing at 6,500-yards and the greens, which have a bit of undulation,” Jameson added. “During the second round of the preview in the fall, I felt several of the pins were in places where they will be for the championship. When you advance to a tournament of this level, all of the teams are very good. Whichever teams manage their mental games and putt the best will be most successful. I believe we will do this well based on our preparations over the past year.”
WT finished third at the NCAA Super Region Four with a 54-hole score of 890 on the par 72, 5,931-yard Brookside Country Club in Stockton, Calif. Lady Buff senior Glory Jangthongsiri finished fifth with a 218 score on rounds of 74, 68 and 76, while Woods finished tied for eighth at 220 on rounds of 74, 73 and 73.
The Lady Buffs finished tied for fourth at the regional last season and fifth in 2014. This mark’s the Lady Buffs’ second trip to the national championship (2009) where the team finished tied for ninth (329-326-329-334) for a 1,318 score. That year, former Lady Buff Mollie Peterson paced the team finishing 43rd on with a 313 score (81-78-71-87). Hammerli Sriyai, now a volunteer assistant coach for the Lady Buffs, finished tied for 45th that season a freshman (85-83-83-82=333).
This will be Janthongsiri’s second trip to the national championship as she went as an individual in 2014 and tied for 31st. Jangthonsiri ranks 11th nationally in stroke average at 74.77, while Woods is 49th at 76.32. Jangthongsiri is the all-time program leader in wins with seven. She has two wins this year with a playoff win at the St. Edward’s Invitational and a win in the Texoma Chevy Dealers Intercollegiate. Woods won the Lone Star Conference Championship this season for her first career victory.
Freshman Kaylin Milholland, freshman Alexandria Massie and Mason complete the WT lineup for the national championship and all three competed at the NCAA Preview last fall, too. Jangthongsiri earned first team all-conference honors for the fourth year in a row, while Woods was a second team selection and Mason earned honorable mention honors. Mason also earned academic all-conference honors.
Fans can access information for tickets, live stats, etc., on the D2 National Championships Festival by clicking here. Check back with www.gobuffsgo.com for the latest information on the women’s golf team at the national championship.