I am not a match-play hater. I just want to toss that out there before I continue with this blog.
I was never a fan of the women’s match-play event hosted by the National Golf Coaches Association each year. Sure, in the beginning it was neat and something different for the women’s game, but it just did not fit. For the men and match play, however, it’s a different story.
Each year, subtle changes were made to the women’s match-play event. The dates would change, top teams would decline an invitation and we even saw teams not bring their best players.
That is why I give two thumbs up to the NGCA and tournament sponsor Hooters for moving away from that in-season event and instead hosting the Hooters Women’s Collegiate Team Championship. The inaugural event concluded yesterday at Achasta – a par-72 Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course in Dahlonega, Ga.
What a great idea and a great event! And I was not even there.
I followed the event closely and have talked to several who were in attendance, and they had nothing but great things to say.
Wake Forest won the team title, with the duo of Cheyenne Woods and Michelle Shin finishing at 15 under par – two strokes better than Alabama’s Brooke Pancake and Jennifer Kirby.
There are many reasons why I find this event to be attractive to college players. The cost is very reasonable at $199 per team, and being played in the summer just a month before the start of the season is a great chance for players to gear up for team golf – again. NGCA Executive Director Roger Yaffe also stated in a press release the need for more quality amateur events for women in the summer, and he is correct.
However, in my opinion the main attraction of this event is the format, which puts a premium on team golf even more than the regular college golf season.
Day 1 consisted of alternate shot followed by best ball on Day 2. During the final day, every shot counted as the teams used total aggregate scoring.
Woods and Shin took advantage of the best-ball format, combining for a 10-under 62. Woods made seven birdies and Shin recorded four birdies.
A total of 53 teams from all levels of college golf played this year, and I would guess that this will certainly be much bigger next summer.