The HBU women’s golf team captured its first Southland Conference Championship on April 19 at Woodforest Golf Club in Montgomery, Texas, and earned the league’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Regionals.
The Huskies, who took a nine-stroke lead into the final round, had to hold off a hard charge from Central Arkansas, to clinch the title by a single stroke.
“The emotions were pretty special, coming into a new conference it’s been a little more of a challenge,” head coach David Shuster said. “Coming down the stretch, no lead is good enough in this conference, because we have such good depth in the league. I wanted to make sure that once I saw the score posted, that I could feel the jubilation and my stomach almost come up into my throat. It was a such a fantastic tournament, the girls have worked so hard, Assistant Coach Jordan Jeffers has worked so hard, the time the kids and the coaching staff has put into it is enormous and to see it pay off with a Southland Conference championship means a lot.”
Sophomore Lexi Brooks won the individual title as well, posting a tournament record 54-hole score of 3-under par 210 for a six-stroke victory. Freshman Alisa Chong, who was tied with Brooks for the lead heading into the final round, finished third, while sophomore Kaity Cummings tied for 11th. Senior Charlotte Hartshorn tied for 31st and freshman Caylee Senn tied for 33rd.
“There’s not really any other way to say it, but that it feels incredible,” Brooks said. “It feels more incredible that my whole team gets to go to regionals and I’m so thankful for them, thankful we got to be here and have all of these wonderful opportunities and that we have a chance to advance even further. When you give it up to God, this is what happens.”
HBU won its fifth women’s golf championship since returning to Division I in 2008, capturing four-straight Great West Conference titles from 2010-13, but will be making its first-ever NCAA appearance, since those championships did not come with an automatic qualifier.
Brooks was selected to the Southland All-Conference First Team, while Cummings earned second-team honors. Each of them made the all-conference team for the second-straight year. Shuster was voted the league’s Coach of the Year.
The Huskies competed at the NCAA Regional May 8-10 at the University of New Mexico South Championship Course in Albuquerque, New Mexico.