College of Charleston simply is not deep enough to overcome serious bouts of illness, injury and fatigue. It was the story of the fall for the Cougars.
Head coach Jamie Futrell watched his already short roster shrink with the loss of Anna Martin, first to a wrist injury and then to an appendectomy. About the same time, senior standout Leigh Whittaker traveled to Austria to play the UNIQA Ladies Golf Open on the Ladies European Tour (she gained an exemption by winning the Austrian Amateur during the summer). Upon return, jetlag and classroom catch-up left a fatigued Whittaker short of where she had been in the spring.
“That’s kind of how the fall went. We just never could get all the pieces together,” Futrell said. “I think we’re better than what our ranking is and everybody knock on all the wood that I can find that everyone stays healthy. If so, we could have a good spring.”
As the second half of the season draws near, Futrell notes that every indication from early practice sessions is that the Cougars’ roster will be intact. It might even lead to a changing of the Southern guard, so to speak.
Chattanooga typically has dominated in the Southern Conference, earning the NCAA automatic qualifying spot out of the league for the past two years. The Mocs graduated the top two players in the conference last spring, and it gave other Southern contenders a bit of hope.
Based on recent history, College of Charleston might be in the best position for an upset. The Cougars finished runner-up to Chattanooga each of the past two years, and Futrell returns the same lineup that went to the East Regional as freshmen (and one sophomore) in 2010.
“It’s a wide-open field this year,” Futrell said. “Whoever is playing the best when they get there I think will be able to win. Hopefully that’s us.”
• • •
Top of the class: Chattanooga
Best player in the fall: Fanny Cnops, UNC-Greensboro
• • •
2007: Western Carolina
• • •
• • •
Wondering how your favorite conference is shaping up headed into the spring season? Who is our favorite to pick up the automatic qualifier? Check out our conference-by-conference break down with our complete coverage page here.
• • •
Going social with Golfweek
Want to follow our college gurus on Twitter? Here are some quick links:
• You can follow blogger Asher Wildman here
• You can find Lance Ringler’s college Twitter feed here
• Follow women’s college golf with Julie Williams here
• And follow all of college golf on Facebook by clicking here