VIDEO: Suzanne Strudwick Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – The fall slate comes to a close for the Carson-Newman women's golf as it embraces a quick turnaround, traveling to Jekyll Island, Ga. for the Jekyll-O-Lantern Intercollegiate on Monday and Tuesday.
The Eagles head into the event after back-to-back top-three performances with a win at the King Invitational and a third-place finish at Trevecca's Music City Invitational just this past week.
"Our goal is to always to actually play better on the last day and not increase the score but lower," coach Suzanne Strudwick said. "So, we did our average 305 on the first day but we bumped up to 312 for our team score on the last day which was a little disappointing. We did nudge out and move up one spot so we finished third.
"We'll take it, no harm done, but definitely not what we should have done."
Reagan Kinnie (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) will be serving as the top seed for the Eagles after an 11th-place finish at Trevecca. The junior shot her second-best round of the season at the Music City Invitational with a 72 in the opening day. Through three events this year, she is averaging a four-over score of 75.0.
Second-seeded Maeve Cummins (Waringstown, Northern Ireland) holds a 77.6 scoring average through her first three events with Carson-Newman. The freshman tied for 12th at Music City with a 153 total, her second-best finish in her early career.
Jayla Sims (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) will be at the No. 3 spot for Carson-Newman at Jekyll Island. The sophomore finished with a share of 20th last week with back-to-back rounds of 78.
At the four-spot will be Rachel Watts (Newport, Tenn.) after tying for 30th in the Music City Invitational.
With the quick turnaround the team is facing heading to the fall finale, the top-four finishers at Music City automatically earned a spot on the trip to Jekyll Island.
"We need the players that are playing and playing well, so not all the girls are qualifying for the last spot," Strudwick said. "The ones that have shown me the promise or played and have tournament experience are the ones that are.
"We've had enough opportunities now to really start to see who are the ones that are playing well, the slight separation and we need the best girls playing so we can keep the momentum going into the last event, finish strong and then hopefully have a good Christmas break heading into the spring."
Taylor Hayes will take the No. 5 spot, regaining a spot on the travel team she had to give up at the Music City Invitational due to an injury. The senior's last time on the links resulted in a fifth-place showing at the King Invitational. Through two events this season, she has accumulated a 76.4 stroke average.
Matilda Frövenholt (Öjersjö, Sweden) makes her first trip of the season with the A-team as an individual. The sophomore competed with the B-team at the Bob Dibble Classic in September, finishing in a tie for seventh. She completed her first season with the Eagles holding an 80.5 stroke average.
The Jekyll-O-Lantern Intercollegiate will be hosted by fellow South Atlantic Conference teams Lincoln Memorial and Coker, giving the Eagles an idea of where they stand against conference opponents before they head into their winter hiatus.
Of the 15-team field, six hail from the SAC including Queens, Newberry and Mars Hill.
"I really hope that we can finish on a strong note, that the girls understand that where their position is regionally, we're ranked 10th, that that is a good high position for us and it's one that we want to, obviously, not try to protect but we want to try to improve," Strudwick said. "I definitely think we're good enough to be in the conversation as a top-20 team in the country. We just have to go out and do that."
In terms of ranked teams participating, Tampa is the lone group that was included in the Women's Golf Coaches Association poll released last Monday, sitting at 21st in the nation. It is also just one spot outside of the national ranking from Golfstat at 26th. Carson-Newman fell from Golfstat's ranking this week after sitting in 25th a week ago.
The Intercollegiate will take place at the Jekyll Island Golf Club. The Pine Lakes course there spans 6,043 yards with a 72 par.
The fall finale will tee-off Monday morning from the Jekyll Island Golf Club. Live scoring will be available for both rounds through BirdieFire.