VIDEO: Suzanne Strudwick Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Being nearly a month removed from competition, No. 25 Carson-Newman is now gearing up for its third event of the fall at the Music City Invitational hosted by Trevecca at the Old Hickory Golf Club outside of Nashville.
"It's been a good month for them to work on some things that they needed to to prepare for these next quick two weeks," coach Suzanne Strudwick said.
The Eagles' last time out on the links brought their first tournament win of the season at the King Invitational where they took home both the team and top medalist crowns.
#CNWG completed the three-peat at the King Invitational, taking home the team and individual titles on Tuesday. The Eagles were 36 shots ahead of the rest of the field by the end of Tuesday.— Carson-Newman Athletics (@CNathletics) September 25, 2018
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Last year was C-N's first-ever appearance in the event in middle Tennessee. The group left with a second-place finish, just 20 strokes behind top-ranked and eventual national champion UIndy.
Sims will lead the team in the event as the No. 1 seed. The sophomore enters the event after a tie for sixth at the King Invitational, the best finish of her career. She currently holds a 76.0 scoring average at four-over through five rounds of play.
In last year's event, Sims was 12-over through the two rounds of play with a 156 total, good enough for a share of 17th.
Maeve Cummins (Waringstown, Northern Ireland) will be the second-seed for C-N after an impeccable showing at the King Invitational where she won the top medalist title as an individual. She was four-over in the event to become the first Carson-Newman freshman to win an event since Elizabeth England at the Newberry/Carson-Newman duel on Feb. 2, 2015.
Through her first two events with the Eagles, she has an average score of 78.0, six-over par.
At the No. 3 spot will be Hayes, who was one of the highest Eagles in the field last year when she held a share of eighth-place with teammate England at 10-over par.
The senior is coming off of a fifth-place finish at King where she was eight-over par.
Rachel Watts (Newport, Tenn.), C-N's fourth seed in the tournament, has been in the top-20 of both events so far this season. She tied for second in the King Invitational with a 148 total, her career lowest two-round score.
Kinnie rounds out the five-member team after tying for eighth at King where she competed as an individual. This will be the junior's second event with the main group of Eagles after finishing as the runner-up in the Bob Dibble Classic with C-N's B-Team in early September.
In last year's Music City Invitational, she shared 17th-place with Sims. She shot back-to-back rounds of 78 in the event.
Elly Carlson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) will be making her first trip with the group as an individual. She also saw time in the Bob Dibble Classic where she tied for ninth at 13-over.
Carson-Newman will be a part of a 20-team field in the event. Beyond that, it will be one of just three teams that are ranked in Golfstat's Top-25, the other two being reigning national champion and top-ranked UIndy and No. 7 Grand Valley State. The trio of ranked teams just so happened to also be the top three teams in last year's field with UIndy at the top followed by C-N and Grand Valley State.
"You can't go in fearful, you know, and sort of thinking, 'Oh my goodness, we have to protect this,'" Strudwick said. "I want them to go in challenged. I want them to go in highly competitive and I feel as if the team that we kind of have now, the level of our qualifiers is so high. You have to play well, really well. We're almost 10 shots lower than where we were two years ago in our qualifiers.
"The depth that we have now is creating that competition and that competitiveness that I want going into the tournaments."
Carson-Newman is the only team from the South Atlantic Conference in the field.
The teams will be playing at the Old Hickory Country Club which has served as the home course for Trevecca for a number of years. The course spans 5,870 yards with a par of 72.
The 36-hole event begins on Monday morning from Old Hickory Golf Club with a single round on both days. A full recap and results will be found at cneagles.com after each day of competition.