CCU’s Henderson repeats, lifts team to Big South title

Coastal Carolina carded a 292 over the final round of play on Tuesday to capture the 2013 Big South Championship contested at the par-72, 6,083-yard The Patriot Club at Grand Harbor in Ninety Six, S.C.

In addition to the Chanticleers’ team victory, senior Brittany Henderson captured her second straight championship individual medalist honors.

The championship is the sixth in Coastal Carolina history and the third under fifth-year head coach Katie Quinney. The Chanticleers finished the tournament with a Big South Championship 54-hole record of 16-over 880 (292-296-292). Coastal defeated Campbell, the 2012 champions, by eight strokes.

The Fighting Camels finished the tournament with a 24-over 888 (297-292-299). Big South newcomer Longwood (315-306-293=914) finished third, followed by Gardner-Webb 306-310-301=917) and Charleston Southern (315-305-311=931) to round out the top five on the team leaderboard.

“I am so proud of the way our team played over these past three days,” said Quinney. “To have Brittany win her second individual title and all five of our ladies place in the top 11 shows how much of a true team effort this championship took.

“We knew going into the championship that if we continued to play the way we have over the past month of the season we would be in contention for the title on the back nine of the final round. The ladies showed that we are a good team and one that has the ability to contend for a spot at the NCAA Championship.”

By virtue of their championship victory, the Chanticleers earn the Big South’s automatic berth to a 2013 NCAA Regional. The regional appearance will be Coastal’s fifth since 2005 and third under the direction of Quinney. The NCAA Regional field will be announced live on NCAA.com on Monday, April 29 at 9 p.m. with Regional play getting underway on Thursday, May 9.

Henderson, the Big South Golfer and Scholar-Athlete of the Year, claimed the individual medalist honors in dramatic fashion, birdying her final hole of play to win by a single stroke over teammate Lena Schaeffner and Longwood’s Ariel Witmer. She finished the tournament at 3-over after turning in scores of 73-71-75 for a 219 total.

Henderson had a rocky start to her day as she followed a par on one with bogeys on two and three. She then posted a pair of pars before a birdie on six sprung her for five straight pars.  Bogeys on three of her next five holes moved her to four over on the day, but the veteran responded with a par on 17 and a final birdie on the par-5 18th to win the individual title.

Henderson is the first women’s golfer to win consecutive individual championships since Charleston Southern’s Patricia Martinson in 1999 and 2000, and becomes just the third multi-champion in Big South history.

Schaeffner, an All-Freshman Team selection, turned in the best tournament of her Coastal career, tying for second with a 4-over 220 (71-73-76) 54-hole score. She started the round with a bogey on one and four, but seven pars on the remaining front nine left her at 2-over at the turn. She countered three bogeys on the back nine with a birdie on 12 and five pars to conclude her final round with a 4-over 76.

Senior Jessica Alexander, an all-conference honoree, shot the Chants’ best round of the day to finish tied for fourth in the 45-competitor field. She carded a 1-under 71 over the final 18, closing the tournament with a 54-hole tally of 221 (72-78-71). The Riverview, Fla., native was two under through six before a bogeying seven. However, she immediately erased the blue number with an eagle on eight and a par on nine to approach the 10th tee box at 3-under. She went on to play the back nine at two over en route to her 71.

Frida Castillo, the 2012 championship runner-up, finished tied for eighth overall with her three day total of 8-over par 224. Castillo shot a 76 on Sunday, a 75 on Monday and closed the tournament with a 1-over 73 for her 224 on Tuesday. She finished the day with a Chanticleer-leading four birdies to go along with nine pars.

All-Freshman Team selection Marissa Hinchman shot Coastal’s most consistent round of the day, carding a 1-over 73. She turned in a 54-hole score of 226 (76-77-73) to tie for 11th overall. Hinchman played the first 10 holes of the day at 1-under thanks to a birdie on the par-4 sixth hole. She only stumbled with a bogey on 11 and a double-bogey on 15, but recovered nicely to play her final three holes at 1-under.

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