(New Orleans, La.) The Loyola University New Orleans women’s golf team will travel north to Lincoln, Neb. for the 2014 NAIA Women’s Golf National Championship on Tuesday, May 20 through Friday, May 23 at the Wilderness Ridge Golf Club.
“We are so excited to be at the National Championship in our infancy,” said head coach Lisa Tinkler. “We have a strong, young group of core golfers that have led us to this point in just our second year as a program. The experience will be a great foundation for the future of golf at Loyola. The competitiveness of this tournament will allow us to grow as a team and continue to be national title contenders for seasons to come.”
Freshman Alexis Hazard paces the squad with an 82.7 average score per round. She was named to the SSAC Championship All-Tournament Team for her third place individual finish at the conference tournament. Hazard shot a career-low 73 on the final day of the tournament, recording the low-round score of the day and improving her first round mark by 10 strokes. The Pensacola, Fl., native recorded three top 20 individual finishes in tournaments this season, including a tie for second place at the Emmanuel College Invitational where the Wolf Pack women earned their first tournament victory in program history over a no. 7-ranked College of Coastal Georgia team. Hazard holds the lowest scoring average of the 2013-14 Loyola women’s golf team.
Fellow freshman Sarah-Anne Smurlick assisted the Wolf Pack on their journey to the NAIA National Championship, finishing in a tie for 14th at the conference tournament. The transfer from Toronto, Canada is averaging 83.1 per 18 holes. In her first season with the Pack, she was named to the 2014 SSAC All-Conference Team and received SSAC Newcomer of the Year honors. She achieved All-Tournament Team status in two tournaments this season and recorded a career-low 76 in both rounds at the 2014 Claud Jacobs Invitational hosted by the University of Houston-Victoria. Smurlick finished in the top 20 individually in three tournaments this season including the Emmanuel Spring Invitational where she shot a low-round score of the day (84) in the second round of tournament action.
Sophomore Alexis Vega tied for ninth at the conference championship. Averaging an 85.4 18-hole mark, Vega shot her best round at the first tournament of the season, scoring a 78 on the second day of the 2014 Claud Jacobs Invitational. Vega posted three top 20 individual finishes this season, with her conference tournament finish being a career-best.
Scoring an average 86 per round, freshman Julchen Narwark has participated in all five spring tournaments for the Wolf Pack. She posted a career-best 81 at the 2014 Claud Jacobs Invitational. Narwark earned three top 20 individual finishes this season, closing the Emmanuel College Invitational in a career-best tie for seventh.
Freshman Megan Keck rounds out the Loyola lineup. The first-year from Sedalia, Mo., is averaging an 86.8 per round. Keck shot a career-best 74 in the first round of the opening tournament of Loyola’s spring season at Houston-Victoria.
Four 18-hole rounds will be played across the tournament. Each round begins at 7:30 a.m. CDT. The tournament field is cut after 54 holes and reduced to the top 17 teams and 40 individuals including ties.
The Loyola women’s golf team earned an automatic bid to the NAIA National Championship upon finishing second at the Southern States Athletic Conference Women’s Golf Championship. This is the first national tournament appearance for the Wolf Pack women’s golf team in just their second year as a program.
Earlier this season, the Loyola women’s golf team received votes in the NAIA Women’s Golf Coaches’ Top 25 Poll for the first time in program history.