Arseneault confident in Cavs at NCAAs
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Virginia senior Jennie Arseneault just wants what’s best for her team. That’s why she and coach Kim Lewellen decided it would be best for the All-ACC first-teamer to sit out of the Cavaliers’ lineup at the NCAA Women’s East Regional.
“I need to worry about myself and get my golf game back in shape,” Arseneault told Golfweek Thursday. “I’m not bitter about it. I just want what’s best for Virginia, and if what’s best is me not being there, then I’m fine with it.”
After tying for sixth at the Bryan National Collegiate and fifth at the Liz Murphey Classic this spring, Arseneault hit a skid at the ACC Championship. She didn’t break 80 in her final two rounds and finished 32nd, as the Cavs placed fifth as a team.
Arseneault said she struggled with the driver, and when she couldn’t work out the kinks by the end of last week, she and Lewellen decided sophomore Joy Kim would be a better option for the team’s regional squad.
“We thought it was just going to be a fluke at ACCs, that it would go away in practice,” said Arseneault, No. 41 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. “But I was still playing the same.”
After the first round of the East Regional at the University of Florida’s Mark Bostick Golf Course, top-seeded Virginia is fifth, seven shots behind leader East Carolina. Whitney Neuhauser led the Cavs with a 1-over 71; Kim shot 74.
“All the girls know that they need to be ready to suit up at any time,” Lewellen said. “I think Joy’s been ready.”
Kim, No. 259 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, is making her first appearance for the Cavs since mid-March. In her previous event, she finished 76th at the LSU Golf Classic.
At the Fall Preview in September, Kim posted the team’s second-best 54-hole score and tied for 21st. In the final round of last year’s East Regional, Kim birdied the 18th hole at the University of Georgia Golf Course to shoot 68 as the Cavs advanced to the NCAA Championship.
“Our team is so deep right now, there’s no question whether or not we’re going to back it to NCAA Championship,” Arseneault said. “We’re going to make it.”
Arseneault is leaving Friday morning for Myrtle Beach, S.C., to spend the weekend working with her instructor, former PGA Tour player Hugh Royer III. She’ll return to Charlottesville, Va., early next week to work out with the team should they finish as one of the top eight teams in the East and advance to the NCAA Championship. At that point, Lewellen said she will decide what players will make up the national championship squad.
“If she’s back to the Jennie Arseneault that everyone knows, then she’s back in it,” Lewellen said.