The UW-Oshkosh women's golf team makes its first appearance on the national stage in more than a decade when the Titans compete at the NCAA Division III Championship this week in Houston, Texas.
UW-Oshkosh, appearing at its third national tournament and first since earning consecutive bids during the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, will be among 21 teams vying for the title at the Bay Oaks Golf Club from Tuesday (May 10) through Friday (May 13). Tee times at the par-72, 5,869-yard layout are scheduled for 7:45 a.m. each day.
UW-Oshkosh earned the WIAC's automatic berth into the national field by winning the league's three-day tournament by 47 strokes over runner-up UW-Eau Claire on Oct. 11.
The Division III Championship consists of 72 holes of play over four days of competition. The low four scores from each team for each day will count toward the team's total score.
UW-Oshkosh's lineup at the national tournament will feature WIAC Player of the Year McKenzie Paul, all-conference players Kayla Priebe, Micayla Richards and Laura Stair, and Samantha Kuik. Paul and Priebe were named to the league's five-member first team while Richards and Stair were selected to the five-member second team.
Paul won the individual title at the WIAC Championship title with 232 strokes while Priebe was the runner-up with 245. Stair placed fifth in the field of 43 golfers with 251 strokes.
Paul leads the Titans with an average 18-hole score of 80.06 strokes. She is followed by Priebe with 83.06 strokes per round, Stair with 84, Richards with 86.65 and Kuik with 89.53.
Paul has scored in the 70s during seven of her 17 rounds this season, including a season-best 76 in the final round of the WIAC Championship. She has recorded just one round above 82 strokes this year. Paul was the runner-up at both the Viterbo University Invitational on Sept. 13 and the UW-Stevens Point Mad Dawg Invitational on Oct. 4.
Priebe, who posted a season-best round of 75 strokes at the UW-Oshkosh Invitational on Sept. 6, opened the season with four top-five finishes in the first five tournaments of the season.
Stair has played four rounds under 80 strokes this season, including an opening-round 76 on her way to earning first-place honors at the UW-Oshkosh Invitational.
Richards placed eighth at the UW-Stevens Point Mad Dawg Invitational on the strength of a season-best score of 82 strokes during the first of two rounds.
Kuik established her best score of the season by counting 84 strokes during the first round of the UW-Oshkosh Invitational, where she finished in ninth place.
In addition to the WIAC Championship, UW-Oshkosh also claimed the team title at the 10-team UW-Oshkosh Invitational, placed second at the six-team Viterbo University and 10-team UW-Stevens Point Mad Dawg invitationals and third at the 19-team UW-Whitewater Invitational on Sept. 26.
Last season, Williams College (Mass.) won its first title with an overall score of 1,263 strokes. Wittenberg University (Ohio) finished second with 1,281 strokes while Washington University (Mo.) was third with 1,285 and The University of Texas at Tyler fourth with 1,289.
The defending champion Ephs will be joined in this year's 21-team field by 2014 national champion Rhodes College (Tenn.) and 13-time champion Methodist University (N.C.). The trio of former team winners have combined to claim all but one title since the Division III championship debuted in 2000.
In its previous national tournament appearances, UW-Oshkosh finished fourth in 2004 and fifth in 2003.