ALEXANDRIA, La. – The Alabama State women’s golf team won its second straight Southwestern Athletic Conference championship Tuesday at Links On The Bayou Golf Course.
The Lady Hornets won going away over nearest competitors Texas Southern and Jackson State. It is the third SWAC title in four years for the Alabama State women’s golf program.
The Lady Hornets had six of the top eight finishers, led by low medalist Janelle Kraakman, who earned low medalist honors for the second straight year. She shot one-over 73 on Tuesday for a two-day total of four-over 148.
Dismary Marquez (75-79) finished third with a two-day total of 154, Brooklyn Kraakman (78-79; 157) finished fourth, Mia Campbell (80-81: 161) and Shanon Spinuzzi (83-78: 161) finished tied for fifth, and Sylvia Masango (78-86: 164) finished eighth.
“As a team, this is a special group,” said head coach Dr. Gary Grandison, who won SWAC Women’s Coach of the Year honors for the second straight season. “They are good students, and they are maturing as a collective group. They’ve earned this championship by really jelling together and recognizing what it takes to actually play your best golf. That’s what we are seeing.”
Janelle Kraakman shot 12 strokes better than her 2013 total of 160, and Tuesday’s career-best round 73 came at the most opportune time.
“It’s a testament to her maturity,” Dr. Grandison said. “She’s a sophomore, but is playing more like a junior or senior. It had nothing to do with swing mechanics, but everything to do with being in the right frame of mind. Her strength is her disposition. I’m very happy for her to win low medalist honors for the second consecutive year.”
Janelle sandwiched seven pars around bogeys on holes three and four to open with a 38. She birdied the 10th hole before bogeys at 11, 13 and 14. However, Janelle closed with flurry, birding the par-four 15th, par-four 17th and par-three 18th in posting a closing 35 to win by two shots over Texas Southern’s Kassandra Rivera.
“My putting was very good this week,” Janelle Kraakman said. “It gave me a lot of confidence. If you don’t have confidence when you are trying to make a putt for birdie or par, it’s hard. I was pretty confident today. I wasn’t really thinking about the birdies at the end because I had just bogeyed the previous holes. I was just trying to get shots back. I wasn’t expecting three birdies. I was just trying to keep calm.”
The Lady Hornets return to action Saturday in the Women Collegiate Golf Classic in Atlanta. Alabama State will learn its NCAA Tournament destination Monday at 5 p.m. on the selection show, which will be shown live on Golf Channel.
Courtesy: Alabama State Sports Information