Women’s golf finishes 5th, men’s golf 6th in Southern Conference championships

Women’s golf battled back from a tough first day of competition to place fifth at the SoCon Conference Championships early this week, as the team posted a three-round total of 329-309-313– 951 (+51).

The fifth-place finish was the highest SoCon Championship finish since ASU placed fourth out of seven teams in 2002.

On the men’s side, the Mountaineers finished in a tie for sixth place with the Furman Paladins.

Head coach Heather Brown was pleased with the Mountaineers’ results.

“It has been a while since [ASU] has not been in the cellar of the conference,” Brown said. “I think we had some people who put some extra pressure on themselves the first day, but I am really proud of how the whole team buckled down and did the best they could the final two rounds.  That is all you can ask for as a coach.”

Junior Rumbi Masamvu was one of the players who struggled during the first round, but came back and played some of her best golf of the season in the final two rounds. Masamvu placed sixth overall as she shot 85-73-74– 232 (+16).

“We, as a team, really wanted to shoot low scores and I think I put too much pressure on myself to perform well the first day,” Masamvu said. “My final two rounds were the most fun I have had playing golf all year.”

Redshirt junior Lauren Smith was consistent all tournament. Smith tied for 14th in shooting, 78-79-81— 237 (+21).

Reigning SoCon golfer of the month Yue “JoJo” Xu also came back from a tough first round to place 18th, as she carded 83-77-78– 238 (+22).

“It was a great comeback for our whole team from the first day,” Xu said. “We beat most of our rivals we see during the season.”

Junior Mimi Burke shot 83-80-81– 244 (+28) to place 29th, and her coach felt that she could have scored even lower if not for a hole or two in each round.

“Mimi was pretty consistent throughout the tournament,” Brown said. “She really had one bad hole each round that kind of kept her from scoring a little better.”

Senior Brittany Zachrich rounded out the Mountaineer squad, carding a three-round score of 90-90-85– 265 (+49) to place tied for 49th.

Coach Brown was pleased with her team’s effort and resiliency.

“Coming in, I felt really good about how we had played all spring,” Coach Brown said. “It’s really pleasing, as a coach, to have your best team performance without really leaning on one certain individual. It’s a step in the right direction for our program.”

Masamvu reiterated some of her coach’s comments about the team’s progress over her last three years.

“I feel like we have always had the talent to do really well at the SoCon Championship,” Masamvu said. “In past years we have just had a hard time translating that into a good three-day score.”

The men’s team was lead by sophomore Casey Klomline, who finished the tournament with a strong 72 in the final round to finish 14th overall in the tournament – earning him all-conference first team honors.

Klomline was the only Mountaineer to finish on any all-conference team.

Although ASU can count on Klomline for the next two years, the Mountaineers will lose five seniors and one graduate student to graduation. That total includessenior Darren Cook and graduate student Dustin Hudson, who finished 15th and 27th respectively in the conference tournament.
The College of Charleston won the men’s tournament for the men.

Looking ahead to next year’s women’s team, on paper ASU will have its most talented and experienced squad in some time with four returning seniors.

“I expect to have all four back,” Brown said, “It will be our most experienced team since I have been here if we have our top four come back and compete next season.”

Story: TYLER WOOD, Sports Reporter