September 17, 2009

Golden Eagle women to compete in Great Smokies Invitational

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – A busy opening week of the season continues for Tennessee Tech's women's golf team, which heads to North Carolina this weekend to join a field of 23 teams competing in the 11th annual Great Smokies Women's Intercollegiate, presented by the Wolf Creek Tree Farm and Nursery of Tuckasegee.

Tech won the first two team championships at the event in 1999 and 2000, led by back-to-back Golden Eagle medalists Cherry Bevis and Kylie Crouch. Since then, the Golden Eagles have earned four Top 10 finishes, including fourth in 2004 and third place last year.

Three news teams join the field which will compete for team and individual titles in the tournament hosted by Western Carolina University.

The event, which began back in 1999, will again be held at the par 72, 5,922-yard Waynesville Inn – Golf Resort in Spa in Waynesville, N.C.

The 2009 Great Smokies Intercollegiate will consist of three days of golf beginning on Friday with practice rounds starting at noon. The two-round, 36-hole tournament will begin with a shotgun start at 8 am CDT on Saturday, with the final round also teeing off with a shotgun start at 8 am on Sunday.

The Waynesville Inn – Golf Resort and Spa – previously referred to as the Waynesville Country Club – was established in 1926, nestled on the hills and valleys of Western North Carolina. The 27-hole course sits on a former dairy farm and features rolling fairways ending in bent grass greens. The course was designed by renowned golf course designer, Donald Ross, who also designed Pinehurst #2 which hosted the 2005 U.S. Open. Golf Digest gave the Waynesville Inn – Golf Resort and Spa a four-star rating.

Teams will once again play the Carolina and Blue Ridge courses with similar yardages from a year ago. The Carolina course will play 2,981 yards with Blue Ridge, which features three par 3 and three par 5 holes, measuring out to 2,941 yards to make up the 5,922-yard course.

Western Carolina has won six of the 10 team titles all-time, including edging Southern Conference foe, Wofford, by five strokes a season ago. The Catamounts have also claimed individual medalist honors five times, but are amidst a three-year void

In addition to the Catamounts, the two other past tournament champions - Elon (2001) and Tennessee Tech (1999, 2000) - will also be in this year's field along with 17 other schools making return trips to the mountains of Western North Carolina. Four schools – Bowling Green, Saint Leo (Fla.) University – which is coached by former Catamount, Erika Danford Brennan, Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) and South Carolina State – will make their first-ever trips to Waynesville for the tournament.

Three of the top five finishers from a year ago return to this year's tournament including third-place finisher, senior Diana Carson of Tennessee Tech. WCU’s Blaire Minter and Elin Mickelsson both finished tied for fourth a season ago and return to action this weekend.

Practice rounds begin at Noon on Friday, with both the first and second rounds on Monday and Tuesday mornings, respectively, teeing off at 9:00 am. Admission is free and the tournament is open to the public.

Full recaps and results will be made available online at www.CatamountSports.com at the conclusion of both rounds Saturday and Sunday. Results will also be posted on TTUsports.com late each day.

GREAT SMOKIES INTERCOLLEGIATE NOTES:

* A total of 55 different teams have participated in the event all-time … the 2009 tournament features 23 teams from nine different states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia) including four – Bowling Green, Saint Leo University, Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) and South Carolina State – making their first-ever tournament appearance;

* Three of the four all-time tournament team champions will be in competition: Tennessee Tech (1999, 2000); Elon (2001) and Western Carolina (2002, ’03, ’04, ’05, ’06, ‘08) – the only champion squad not in attendance is Chattanooga (2007);

* Western Carolina has won six-of-the-ten team titles at the Great Smokies Intercollegiate ... the Catamounts have also had the individual medalist in five of the past eight seasons, but are amidst a three-year drought;

* Current Tennessee Tech assistant coach, Kylie Crouch, won the inaugural Great Smokies Intercollegiate back in 1999;