Women’s golf wins MAAC, advances to national tournament

Max Molski

Quinnipiac’s women’s golf team won its first MAAC Golf Championship on Sunday at Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The team shot a program-record aggregate score of 933 (+69) to beat Monmouth by 11 strokes. In addition to being the best three-day score in team history, the score beat the tournament record set by Albany last season by four strokes.

“Coming down the eighteenth hole, I was still unsure that we were going to win,” Quinnipiac head coach John O’Connor, who the conference awarded MAAC Coach of the Year to after the tournament, said. “It wasn’t until everybody came in that I knew.”

Freshman Luciana Tobia’s score of 225 (+9) was the lowest score of any golfer on the weekend and is the third-best 54-hole score in MAAC history. Tobia started the final round in second place and remained there until Monmouth’s Sarah Kototajlo double-bogeyed the final hole. Along with her medal, Tobia also earned Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year honors for the conference.

“It’s awesome. It’s great,” Tobia said. “It’s motivation to keep on working really, really hard for the next three years I have. It shows how much work and dedication someone put into practicing every day.”

Tobia was not the only premiere player for the Bobcats during the weekend. Julia Kemmling and Taylor Lambrou both earned All-MAAC honors with top-10 finishes.

“I couldn’t have done it without my team,” Tobia said. “I feel like everybody feels the same way because if one doesn’t put in enough effort, then the whole team won’t. It’s completely teamwork. It’s about getting up every day, being together, being a team [and] being a family.”

Kemmling entered the final day of play on top of the leaderboard but slipped four spots after shooting an 80 (+8) on Sunday. Her 229 total set her personal 54-hole best that she set at this year’s Quinnipiac Classic.

Lambrou, on the other hand, was in 15th place after two rounds before scoring a 77 (+5) on Sunday, climbing up six spots and into the top-10. This marks her second-straight season with All-MAAC honors.

Nicole Scola and Jennifer Whaley also competed for Quinnipiac. Scola finished sixteenth for the tournament with a three-day total of 243 while Whaley tied for twenty third with a total of 248.

“Everybody contributed at one point or another,” O’Connor said. “Even our worst scores were still very good. I was very happy with how everyone played.”

The win at the MAAC Championship qualified the team for the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

Players and coaches awaited Monday evening as “Golf Central,” a daily news show on Golf Channel, revealed the seeds for the Baton Rouge, Bryan, Shoal Creek and Stanford regional sites.

The show announced that Quinnipiac had earned the No. 18 seed in the Bryan Regional and will play 17 other teams at Traditions Club in Bryan, Texas from May 5-7.

UCLA, Georgia and Arizona are the top-three seeds, respectively, in the 18-team region. Only six teams from each of the four regionals will advance to the national championships at Eugene County Club in Eugene, Ore. O’Connor says that his team will work against the powerhouse opponents and enjoy the unique event.

“The competition is extremely difficult,” O’Connor said. “I expect that we’ll put together some good rounds to compete against some of these big-time teams. It’s more than we can expect, but it’s an opportunity to show how good we can be, and it’s going to be a fun experience for us.”