VIDEO: Suzanne Strudwick Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – With nearly four weeks remaining until the start of the 2019-20 campaign, Carson-Newman women's golf coach Suzanne Strudwick has unveiled the four-event slate her team will face in the fall portion of the season that brings a slew of regional and national competition.
This season sees the return of the Eagles' core group after losing just two competitors to graduation in the spring.
The squad of 10 Eagles coming back from last season is highlighted by reigning All-South Atlantic Conference First Team selection and Freshman of the Year Maeve Cummins (Waringstown, Northern Ireland) who was last year's tournament medalist before competing in the NCAA South Regional. She was the sixth individual in program history to compete at the event.
"The one thing I've always said about this team and the seniors that I now have, they are very determined. They've been determined the last three years to make it regionals as a team, and I really feel that this year we're going to do it. We've been the last three years with individuals, but, this year, we're going to be very determined."
This year's Orange and Blue group is beaming with experience thanks to the return of four seniors and four juniors. All-SAC Honorable Mention Reagan Kinnie (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) will be looking to get more reps at the top-spot on the travel team in her final season after playing as the one-seed in three of the eight events she started in last year.
For the second-straight season, the season gets underway with a trip to Carmel, Indiana for the fifth annual UINDY Invitational on September 8 and 9. Carson-Newman made its debut in the tournament last year with a ninth-place showing.
"(Indianapolis) I think are ranked No. 6, were in the top five of the National Championship tournament last year and numerous top 15 teams there (at the Invitational)," Strudwick said. "Again, our goal will be sort of top seven. If we can do that, then we're starting out with a bang."
The following week, the Eagles make the short hour-long drive to Tazewell, Tennessee for the SAC Preview, hosted by Lincoln Memorial, on September 16 and 17. This event will serve as the team's first proper SAC Championship preview since 2015 when it finished in third. In April, Carson-Newman finished fourth at the SAC Championship with Cummins taking home the individual title on a three-stroke lead on the field.
"(The focus) is more about kind of proving ourselves to the rest of the conference that, hey, we are the team," Strudwick said, "and so that would be one that I would hope we would compete very well. LMU are hosting and I'm sure they've got, you know, something to say about that, but that's what you want early on in the season. You want teams banging against each other, fighting for the top position in the conference."
A month away from the links will set C-N up for a trip to the Old Fort Golf Club in Murfreesboro for the Women's Music City Invitational on October 14 and 15. This is the third-consecutive season that the Eagles have played in Trevecca Nazarene's event. Both of the previous appearances have resulted in top three finishes – third a year ago and second in 2017.
The first half of the season comes to a close with a trek to St. Augustine, Florida for the 17th Annual Flagler Fall Slam at the Marsh Creek Country Club on October 21 and 22. While this is the fifth appearance Carson-Newman has made in the field in program history, this season will mark the first time back since 2016 when it tied for 11th. The best finish C-N has seen at the event came in its first showing in 2011 when the team ended as the runner-up to Lynn University. Erica Ray and Louise McGillivray led the C-N assembly that year with the duo tying for third.
Each tournament of the fall will feature full recaps and results following each day of play at cneagles.com.