Queens of the green

Reddie Golf earns first GAC title in since 2014, defeating six-year defending champs ATU

Queens of the green

Donovan Lee, Sports Editor

HOT SPRINGS, AR— With the conference title on the line and an automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals, Henderson State women’s golf took part in the GAC tournament, hosted by the Hot Springs Country Club.

Day one for the Reddies presented challenges early on, with HSU trailing the leaders by nine strokes as a team just halfway through the first eighteen holes. Freshman golfer Karen Lee propelled Henderson back within reach of the top spot, shooting one-under 71 through 36 holes.

Lee’s scores for day one helped the Reddies into second place ahead of day two and put Lee in a tie for first place individually with Katie Whitfield, a golfer representing tournament leaders Arkansas Tech. ATU entered the tournament as the defending champs for six consecutive years.

With a chance at championship hardware on the line, HSU geared up for the second day of action. After getting a glimpse of the lead on day one, they returned to the coveted top spot in round one of day two, leading by four strokes at one point nine holes in.

However, keeping things interesting was ATU, who regained their lead by the same margin as HSU led by. The Golden Suns held that lead going into the final round of the tournament. The final eighteen holes would not be enough to determine a definitive winner. The two front-running teams of the event, HSU and ATU, needed playoff holes to decide a conference champ.

A first-ever instance in GAC history, the playoffs began with another standstill as both teams completed the par-3 15th hole in par-4. Lee completed a huge birdie putt for Henderson on the second hole of the playoff, along with par putts from Gracie Blount and Allie Bianchi, whose putt clinched the victory for HSU.

With Lee and Bianchi tied for the tournament at 7-over 223, giving them fourth-place finishes. Both players were named to the All-Tournament team after their performances on the green. Four Reddies finished inside the Top-10 individually for the tournament, and a fifth Reddies golfer placed in the Top-15.

HSU punched their ticket to the NCAA Central Regional, which will be played May 3-5 in St. Joseph, Missouri. This is their eight berth in the NCAA Regional tournament.