BOWLING GREEN, Ky. WKU Lady Topper Golf has finished in the top five as a team in
seven of 10 events this season, including six straight going back to the fall. The
Lady Toppers hope to carry that momentum onto the big stage this week at the
Conference USA Championship in Fort Myers, Fla.
“I think as a team, we’re capable of finishing really high,” senior Georgina
Blackman said. “I think we stand a good chance of having our best finish at
conference. Individually, I just want to do as best I can. I love that tournament
and love the course, so I just want to have a good finish.”
Twelve teams will be vying for the championship Monday through Wednesday at the
par-72, 6,194-yard Verandah Club. The first round is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. CT
Monday with tee times.
The Lady Toppers are familiar with the course, including last season’s sixth-place
team finish following a three-round total of 906, the second-best conference
championship score in program history. Two seasons ago, WKU finished fourth on the
course for its best conference tourney result since 1997.
“It’s definitely the longest course we play all year,” sophomore Mary Joiner said.
“It’s a tough course, but its not overly tough. I feel like if youre hitting the
ball well, you can score. Its just really all about the short game on that course.”
WKU has finished in the top eight in the C-USA championship in each of head coach
Adam Gary’s first four seasons at the helm after finishing 10th or 11th in the Sun
Belt Conference in each of the five prior seasons.
The Lady Topper’s team totals the last three seasons at the conference championship
are the three best in program history by 30-plus strokes.
Since the final tournament of the fall in October, WKU has finished second, fifth
twice in a row, first, fourth and third in its last six events.
“I’m so lucky that I have a great group,” Gary said. “They really get along well.
They push each other, they’re happy for each other, they hang out with each other
off the golf course. No matter what it is, they really have a good camaraderie
together, and I think that’s shown on the golf course when they compete.”
Blackman, Joiner, senior Katie Story, sophomore Bailey Tyree and freshman Megan
Clarke will represent the Lady Toppers in the championship.
Blackman led WKU at last year’s conference championship in a tie for seventh. It was
the best conference tournament finish by a Lady Topper since 2000, and her 4-over
220 set a program record for lowest total score in a conference championship by an
Blackman has been the team’s top finisher six times this season with seven top-20
results and four top-five finishes, while Joiner has logged two victories giving
her a program-record four for her career.
However, WKU also has six top-20 performances from Story. Tyree has finished in the
top 10 twice, including last time out at the EKU Colonel Classic, and Clarke has
competed in every event this season as a freshman.
Going into conference, you never know if you’re going to have a good round or a bad
round, so you need all those people to be able to step up and have your back if you
need it, Story said.
The winning team at the C-USA Championship earns the league’s automatic bid to the
2018 NCAA Women’s Golf Championship Regionals.