Coastal Georgia women’s golf team hit the course today to begin to play in the 25th NAIA Women’s Golf National Championships, a four-day event lasting through Friday at the Lincoln Park Golf Course in Oklahoma City, Okla.
It’ll be a 54-hole tournament, including a cut after 36 holes.
Coastal Georgia is currently ranked 22 in the country and will tee off just after 2 p.m. in the first round and will have morning tee-times for Wednesday.
This appearance will be the third in school history for the Mariners. The last time Coastal was in this situation was in 2016 when the Mariners finished 15th at Savannah Quarters in Pooler. The first appearance came when Coastal finished sixth in the 2014 national championship in Lincoln, Neb.
It’s been three years since Coastal earned a spot in this tournament and the Mariners earned an at-large invitation this year after finishing fifth in the Sun Conference tournament. The top five teams from the league were selected which gives the Sun Conference the most representatives from a single conference in the national championship.
Top-ranked Keiser, runner-up and second-ranked SCAD-Savannah, USC-Beaufort and Southeastern are the other Sun Conference teams in the field this week.
SCAD-Savannah claimed the national title a year ago at Lincoln Park.
Coastal Georgia has a relatively young team with one senior, one junior, Megan Thompson, five sophomores including No. 1 golfer Kylee Wheeler, No. 2 golfer Lauren Bird, and three other girls.
There are also two freshmen on the team as well.
The lineup for this week will be Wheeler, Bird, Keista Elder, Megan Ramer, and Megan Thompson.
In the Sun Conference tournament, Wheeler led the team with a 230; she tied for ninth in the individual round. Bird was three strokes off of Wheeler’s score with a 233, and she finished 15th.
Nationals include a 156-player field that is made up of 19 automatic qualifying teams, 11 teams that received at-large berths, and several individual qualifiers.
This season, Coastal Georgia has finished ninth or better all season long including two victories this season at the Brenau Golden Tigers Spring Invitational and the Coastal Georgia Fall Invitational.
The Mariners also had four top-five finishes this season. Coastal finished second in the 2018 Sand Shark Invitational, third in the Coastal Georgia Winter Invitational, fifth in the Bash at the Beach, and fifth in the Sun Conference tournament.
Coastal Georgia left for Oklahoma City on Saturday and had an official practice round at Lincoln Park on Monday.
We are very excited,” women’s golf head coach Nicole Johns said in a statement. “We’ve been playing well as a team, and we’re looking forward to seeing how low we can go this week.”