Local golf: Emory women win DIII championship in record fashion

The Emory women's golf team won the 2022 NCAA Division III Championship. The Emory program has been in existence for only three years.

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The Emory women's golf team won the 2022 NCAA Division III Championship. The Emory program has been in existence for only three years.

When it came time to prepare for the NCAA Division III Women’s Golf Championship, Emory coach Katie Futcher didn’t talk to her players about winning. She spoke to them about setting records.

“When we broke it all down for them, what they needed to shoot every round, they said, ‘Hey, we can do that,’” Futcher said.

Then they did it.

Emory won its first national title, earning the trophy at Bay Oaks Country Club in Houston in record fashion – in only the third year of the program’s existence.

The Eagles shattered the NCAA Division III scoring record by shooting a 23-over 296, 39 shots better than the previous record set by Methodist in 2001, and 24 strokes better in relation to par, shattering the record of 47 over set by Methodist in 2007.

“It was more about chasing records than it was winning the tournament,” said Futcher, whose team won five tournaments prior to the nationals. “I think that’s always a better frame of mind, you know, how can we attack the course? How can we play to our strengths?”

Emory’s top finisher was Ellen Dong, who won the individual title after beating Alison Takamiya of George Fox University with a birdie on the first extra hole. The two had tied at 1-over 289.

Freshman Sharon Mun was 11th at 294, and Irene Wang tied for 17th. Freshman Heejo Hyun was 28th, and Mariana Chong tied for 30th.

“Most of them had very strong junior careers,” Futcher said. “They’re used to competing in three-day events where there’s a lot of pressure, so that served them well.”

Mun was named the Women’s Golf Coaches Association’s Freshman of the Year. She led the team in scoring average (73.2) and was Emory’s low scorer in three tournaments.

Futcher was named Southeast Region Coach of the Year, and Mun and Dong were named to the All-American team.

Futcher was an All-American golfer at Penn State and went on to play on the LPGA Tour for nine years, competing in 23 major championships. She was the coach at James Madison before starting the program at Emory.

Sugarloaf professional Ted Moon wins Atlanta Open

Ted Moon, a PGA professional at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, shot a final-round 66 to shoot a 7-under 137 and win the 105th Atlanta Open Championship at Echelon Golf Club in Alpharetta.

Moon’s 6-under score was the lowest of the tournament and allowed him to catch first-round leader R.B. Clyburn of Cartersville. Moon began the day tied for ninth, four shots behind, but a front-nine 31 changed the momentum. He won by three shots over amateur Brock Hoover of Augusta University and by four shots over Clyburn.

“I knew I needed to make a lot of birdies starting the round to catch the great PGA professionals and college players in the field,” Moon said. He earned $4,500 and will have his name engraved on the Lyman R. Hunter Trophy.

Tied for fourth at 1-under 143 were Pete Vitiello of The Landings Club in Savannah, Jeff Cammon of Sea Island Golf Club and amateur Rece Moore of the University of West Georgia. Moore was the low amateur in 2020.

Defending champion Aidan Kramer tied for 15th.

UGA’s LoraLie Cowart on SEC All-Freshman team

The University of Georgia’s LoraLie Cowart was named to the SEC’s All-Freshman team.

The Carrollton native played in five tournaments this spring after missing the fall season with a wrist injury. Her best showing was an eighth-place finish at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic.

Cowart helped the Bulldogs finish third at the NCAA Albuquerque Regional and earned a spot in the NCAA Championships, May 20-25, at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Georgia trio advances to U.S. Senior Open qualifier

Three Georgians earned spots in the U.S. Senior Open qualifier at Hawks Ridge Golf Club in Ball Ground.

Georgia Golf Hall of Famer Tim Weinhart of Alpharetta, Don Carpenter of Athens and Jack Larkin Sr. of Atlanta shot 5-under 67 and tied for second with professional Omar Uresti. John Huston was medalist.

Patrick Patterson of Deerfield Beach, Fla., shot 68 and earned first alternate, and Greg Kennedy of Peachtree Corners shot 69 to grab the second alternate spot.

Tim O’Neal wins local U.S. Open qualifier

Tim O’Neal of Savannah shot a 4-under 67 at Whitewater Creek Country Club in Fayetteville to win the second local qualifier for the U.S. Open.

Tied for second at 3-under 69 were North Oconee High School’s Luke Koenig, Kennesaw State’s Brock Healy, Cory Sciupider of Jupiter, Fla., Zach Caldwell of Woodstock and University of Georgia’s Connor Creasy. Professionals Alex Shead and Matt Nagy got the two alternate spots.

All advance to the 36-hole sectional qualifier, which will determine the participants in the national championship. The U.S. Open is scheduled June 16-19 at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.