Sand Sharks women's golf team ready to tee off at NAIA Championship

sports@islandpacket.comMay 20, 2013 

The USC Beaufort women's golf team will wrap up its season at the NAIA Women's Golf National Championship beginning Tuesday at Wilderness Ridge Golf Club in Lincoln, Neb.

It marks the fourth consecutive year the Sand Sharks have qualified for nationals. They finished 15th last year after placing 18th in 2011 and seventh in 2010.

The 11th-ranked Sand Sharks will be paired with No. 2 Oklahoma City and No. 23 Grand View (Iowa) for the first two rounds with tee times running from 9:20 to 10 a.m. Tuesday and from 2:50 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Senior Kelli Nakano (Cave Creek, Ariz.) leads USCB into nationals after an All-Sun Conference season. Nakano has competed in the national championships every year of her career at USCB. Nakano is joined in the lineup by fellow senior Kaitlin O'Sullivan (Hilton Head Island), junior Kendra Collins (Bluffton) and sophomores Victoria DeGroodt (Walden, N.Y.) and Samantha O' Donnell (Hilton Head Island).

O'Sullivan and DeGroodt are competing in the national championships for the second time, while O'Donnell is a first-time participant. Collins played at nationals as a freshman and was in the lineup last year before having to withdraw because of illness.

USCB is coming off a third-place finish at the Sun Conference Championships at Oldfield Golf Club, where the Sand Sharks finished behind top-ranked SCAD Savannah and No. 7 Embry-Riddle.

This year's 144-player field is made up of 17 automatic qualifying teams, nine at-large team selections, one host team berth and nine individual qualifiers. The field will be cut after 54 holes to include the top 17 teams and the low 40 individuals including ties.

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