GREENVILLE, Pa. (pacathletics.org)–After rallying from a six-stroke deficit to claim the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) team title last spring, the Westminster College women’s golf program secured the top spot in this year’s annual preseason coaches’ poll. Voted on by the conference’s nine head coaches, the results of the poll were unveiled along with the league’s players to watch list Wednesday.
Westminster, led by third-year head coach Matt Torrence, claimed seven first-place votes and 71 total points to finish first in this year’s poll. Torrence was named the PAC Coach of the Year after guiding the Titans to their fourth league title and first since the 2011-12 season.
Washington & Jefferson College and fifth-year head coach Matt Kluck secured the final two first-place votes and 65 points to finish second. Saint Vincent College, led by 17th-year head coach Dr. Thomas Cline and longtime assistant Laura Mallery, totaled 58 points to finish third.
Grove City College finished fourth with 51 points and was followed by Franciscan University in fifth (38), Thiel College in sixth (34), Waynesburg University in seventh (29), Geneva College in eighth (27) and Bethany College in ninth (23).
Both Franciscan and Geneva are sponsoring women’s golf for the first time in 2019.
Last spring, the PAC hosted the third and final round of the PAC Championships at Chestnut Ridge Golf Course in Blairsville, Pa. Westminster entered the final round in second place after the fall championship rounds with a 753 (389-364). The Titans logged a team score of 360 over their remaining 18 holes last April to claim the title with a 54-hole total of 1113.
Westminster went on to represent the PAC at last spring’s NCAA Division III Championships, which were held at the Bay Oaks Country Club in Houston. The Titans, making their first-ever appearance in the Division III Championships, finished in 25th place with a three-day score of 1221. Westminster was one of 21 schools to earn an automatic qualifying bid to last year’s Division III Championships.
For the third-straight year, the fall championships were contested at the Avalon Golf and Country Club in Warren, Ohio, with the women playing a pair of rounds at the Avalon at Squaw Creek course in Vienna, Ohio. W&J followed up its opening-round 379 with a second round score of 368 to carry a six-stroke advantage (747) into the spring’s final round. W&J posted a 441 to finish as last year’s runner-up with a three-round score of 1188.
Headlining this year’s players to watch list is Saint Vincent junior Sydney Ball (Pittsford, N.Y. | Pittsford Mendon). Ball claimed PAC Player of the Year honors last year after posting a three-round score of 259. She earned fall medalist honors after finishing with a two-round score of 177 (89-88) and secured spring medalist honors after firing an 82 on April 13. Ball was third at the PAC Championships in 2017-18. She is Saint Vincent’s first-ever PAC Player of the Year award winner.
W&J senior Alexandra Jakubow (Massillon, Ohio | Jackson) was last year’s runner-up after finishing with a three-round score of 268. She registered a 180 (93-87) last fall and posted an 88 in the spring. Jakubow finished 11th in 2017-18.
The players to watch list also includes four members of the Spring 2019 PAC Academic Honor Roll, which recognizes student-athletes on varsity sports teams who have earned a grade-point average (GPA) of 3.6 or higher on a 4.0 scale during their semester of competition.
This year’s PAC Championships will once again feature a 54-hole stroke play event, with 36 holes played Monday-Tuesday, October 7-8 at the Avalon Golf and Country Club. The women will play two rounds at Squaw Creek, while the men will complete a pair of rounds at Avalon Lakes in Warren, Ohio. The final 18 holes of this year’s women’s championship are scheduled for Saturday, April 18 at Chestnut Ridge. The men’s championship will wrap up Saturday, April 25 at Oglebay Resort’s Speidel Golf Club in Wheeling, W.Va. with a round on the Robert Trent Jones, Sr. course.
The All-PAC teams, along with the PAC Players of the Year, are determined by the combined 54-hole scores from the fall and spring championships. The All-PAC teams are made up of the top 15 overall scorers (5 first team, 5 second team, 5 honorable mention). The combined 54-hole team totals determine the PAC team champions and winners of the league’s automatic qualifying bids to the Division III Championships.
The Division III Championships are scheduled for May 12-15, 2020 at The Champions course at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.