Tunnell qualifies for NCAA Championships; Lady Eagles finish fourth at NCAA South Regional
LAKELAND, Fla. — Carson-Newman freshman Mary Tunnell (Memphis, Tenn.) carded a final-round 77 (+5) on Tuesday at the NCAA Division II South Regional Tournament at The Club at Eaglebrooke to become the first Lady Eagle in program history to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
Tunnell finished the tournament in 14th place with a score of 227 (+11), claiming one of three individual qualifying spots for the NCAA Championships on May 11-14 in Allendale, Mich. Her finish and 54-hole score are both second best in school history. Tunnell overcame a 5-over-par 41 on the front nine by shooting even-par 36 on the back nine to advance.
As a team, C-N shot a final-round 303 (+15) to finish in fourth place. The Lady Eagles did not qualify for the NCAA Championships despite turning in the best 54-hole score in program history, as only the top three teams advance. The Lady Eagles close out another successful season as they won their second South Atlantic Conference title in three years and advanced to the South Regional tournament for a second straight year.
Top-ranked Nova Southeastern, the two-time defending national champion, finished first after firing a final-round 290 (+2) to finish the tournament with a score of 875 (+11). Fourth-ranked Rollins College claimed second with a three-day total of 888 (+24), while No. 2 Florida Southern finished third with a score of 892 (+28).
C-N junior Jennifer Oliver (Knoxville, Tenn.) turned in a 2-over-par 74 on Tuesday to finish in a tie for 18th with a score of 229 (+13). Senior Jessica Tarbet (Corryton, Tenn.) wrapped up her Lady Eagle career in a tie for 25th place with a three-round total of 234 (+18), while sophomore Melanie Manis (Louisville, Tenn.) and junior Erica Ray (Maryville, Tenn.) tied for 32nd with a score of 237.
Nova Southeastern also claimed the top three spots on the individual leaderboard. Sandra Changkija finished first with a three-round total of 214 (-2), while teammate Abbey Gittings took second with a score of 217 (+1) and Taylor Collins tied for third with a three-day score of 220 (+4).
The NCAA Championships will begin on May 11 at The Meadows in Allendale, Mich. The championships will consist of both team and individual competition conducted concurrently. All participants will compete throughout the entire 72 holes of competition. In the team competition, the low four scores for each team will count in each day's total score. The number of participants that qualify for the finals is 72.