Junior Ashley Miller captured the individual championship while leading the Tigers to the NAIA Super Regional Championship.
Head coach Bill Johnson with team captains, Gwen Holmes and Nora Durkin. The Tigers qualified for the NAIA Golf National Championships for the first time in school history.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Olivet Nazarene University history was made on Saturday, April 20 at the Elbel Golf Course in South Bend, Indiana when the Tiger women’s golf team captured the team title at the NAIA Super Regional. The milestone marks the first time Olivet has sent a team the NAIA Golf National Championships.
“I can't begin to describe how proud I am of this team, led by my two captains, Gwen Holmes and Nora Durkin,” said head coach Bill Johnson. “These two young ladies were my first recruits three years ago at the program’s inception. We could not have done any of this without Sarah Rondeau, our assistant coach.”
“This team has worked tirelessly in the fall and the off season preparing for this opportunity, and they took advantage of being well prepared. We have played in the toughest weather all spring; cold, rain, snow and sleet with no complaints from anyone,” Johnson added. “We are honored to represent ONU in the NAIA National Tournament for the first time ever. Since the program began we have always known, we play for Jesus, and we give Him all the thanks, glory and praise for the blessing of this victory.”
Junior Ashley Miller (Springhill, Kan.) shot an 80 on the par 72 course to capture the top spot, beating out Maricar Nones of the University of Saint Francis (Ill.) by three strokes. Just one shot behind, tied for third, with matching 84’s were sophomore Lydia Bilyeu (Fulton, Ill.) and freshman Kelsey Fisk (Greenfield, Ind.). Senior Gwen Holmes (Princeton, Ind.) finished tied for sixth at 86, while senior Nora Durkin (Peotone, Ill.) finished tied for tenth at 89.
"I am just really proud of our team, everyone worked really hard,” said Miller after the match. “This has been the goal the whole year and everyone put a lot of work in the off season and it continued through this season and our team has really come together at the right time."
Weather had shortened the scheduled two-day tournament to a single round, winner takes all. The Tigers compiled a team total of 334 on the afternoon, 15 strokes ahead of the University of Saint Francis (Ill.). Ashford University (Iowa) finished third with a team total of 350, while Robert Morris University (Ill.) came in fourth with a 376.
Holmes, a founding member of the program added, "It has been a really tough spring with weather, but as a team, we are thrilled to have won this tournament. I am so proud of how far our team has come. We can't wait for Nationals."
Olivet will travel to Lincoln, Nebraska for the 2013 NAIA Women's Golf National Championships. The four-day tournament will be hosted by Doane College (Neb.) on May 21 - 24, 2013.