Saturday, May 01, 2010

Laura Jones became Conference champion
for the second consecutive year

Oklahoma City University captured the team title for the seventh consecutive year, while OCU’s Laura Jones (pictured right) from England became individual champion for the second year in a row in the Sooner Athletic Conference women’s golf championships at River Oaks Golf Club, Edmond in the state of Oklahoma this week.
The second-ranked and five-time defending NAIA champion Stars edged 12th-ranked Southern Nazarene by two strokes. Jones, a member of Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, nudged by teammate Paige Martin in the individual race by three shots.
OCU assured itself of a berth in the NAIA Championships on May 25-28 at Meadowbrook Golf Course in Rapid City, S.D., by becoming conference champ. Ninth-ranked and third-place Lubbock Christian (Texas) and No. 16 and fourth-place Wayland Baptist (Texas) will hope to get one of the 6-8 at-large spots along with Southern Nazarene into the 24-team, 129-individual national field.
The Stars recorded a 320-305–625 to rally from a six-stroke deficit after the first 18 holes. Southern Nazarene shot 314-313–627, and Lubbock Christian ended with a 315-321–636. Wayland Baptist had a 332-333–665.
“Wow,” said OCU coach M.J. Desbiens, who garnered SAC coach of the year honors. “I’m really excited about the upperclassmen. They really did their job well today. It was a disappointing day yesterday, but a great day today knowing that I can count on all eight of my team members. We had a great team meeting that focused on adversity. Everyone responded well from that. I’m equally proud of Laura and Paige for their round today. They were very clutch.”
Jones, a junior from Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, England, fired a 77-70–147 for her fourth US college win. Jones birdied the first, eighth, 16th and 18th holes.
“It’s a nice feeling,” Jones said. “I was quietly confident entering the tournament. I’ve worked hard with our strength coach Jack Pugh these past couple of weeks and worked on my fitness. I hadn’t felt good physically. I’ve practiced hard on my game and my mental game. I hadn’t been positive. It feels good heading into nationals with a win.”
She finished with bogeys on the 13th and 14th holes, using 3 putts on each hole.
“If I hadn’t have done that, I would have had a perfect round, and I was aiming for a perfect round,” Jones said. “But I stayed positive and went on.”
Desbiens said, “I can’t say enough about what Laura has done in the past three weeks. She is definitely playing up to her potential. She is on her way to perform really well at nationals.”
Martin sank four birdies Tuesday, scoring a 32 on the front nine on the way to an 80-70–150.
Andrea Rojas led Southern Nazarene with a 77-74–151, while Charlotte Guilleux carded 82-71–153 for Wayland Baptist. Sinae Montoya of Lubbock Christian shot 75-79–154 to be the final top-five finisher and grab all-SAC acclaim.
The temperature reached 68 degrees on the par-71, 5,998-yard course. Winds were out of the northwest up to 13 mph. Skies were clear, making for a warmer day than Monday.
“There was a lot more pressure today,” Desbiens said. “The pin placements were very good. The golf course did a good job setting up for a championship event. They were set up fairly. The good players made their marks. I think the conditions were easier today because we know how to play in the wind. Mixing in the cold threw us off.”Tanya Tibshraeny added an 82-83–165 for the Stars, while Taylor Howard shot 81-85–166. Mary Larsh contributed an 88-82–170 for OCU.Morgan Gay led OCU's unattached individuals with a 79-84–163.Results