CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern concludes its fall season this Sunday through Tuesday at the Palmetto Intercollegiate, hosted by the College of Charleston at Turtle Point Golf Club in Kiawah Island, S.C.
CSU's last competitive round came two weeks ago at the Pinehurst Challenge Invitational. The Bucs captured their third top-ten in four events, finishing T-6th, behind Shelby Thompson's school record round of six-under par 66.
Thompson has enjoyed an outstanding fall, earning Big South Golfer of the Week honors twice while collecting two top-five's and three top-ten's. Teammates Emelie Flink, Hayley McNeill, Milleina Ohara and Bella Johnson have strung together some quality rounds as well, and CSU head coach Matt Cram-Smith hopes his team can put it all together against a strong field at Turtle Point.
"We're really looking forward to it," Cram-Smith said. "It's pretty much a new course at Turtle Point because they've changed all the greens. It's going to be playing a lot firmer than we've seen it in the past. The girls are all feeling good and it's just another challenge for us to try to hopefully get three good rounds in instead of two out of three."
"They're up for it," Cram-Smith continued. "Shelby's obviously playing really well since the last event and Emily and Hayley as well. Noonie has really stepped it up and won the qualifier so that's exciting. I'm really looking forward to it. It's another really good field. A lot of bigger schools here and another chance for us to go get some more quality wins."
Field: Augusta, Boston University, Campbell, Charleston Southern, Chattanooga, Coastal Carolina, College of Charleston, Daytona State, Elon, East Tennessee State, Illinois State, Kennesaw State, Mercer, Mississippi, North Florida, Northern Arizona, South Florida, Troy, UNCG and Xavier
Course: Kiawah Island Resort – Turtle Point – Kiawah Island, S.C. – Par 72 – 5,972 yards
Live Scoring: www.Golfstat.com
Monday's Second Round – 8:30 a.m. (ET) off Hole No. 1 and No. 10
Tuesday's Final Round – 8:30 a.m. (ET) Shotgun Start
Q&A with CSU senior Shelby Thompson (Business major with emphasis in Marketing)
Q: Did you see this kind of success coming, with three top-ten's and two top-five's?
A: (Laughing) No, not really, I guess. You can never predict what's going to happen. I had one goal and that was to not shoot 80 but I kind of broke that goal in the last tournament but I also made a comeback so that was nice. It balanced out, I suppose.
Q: How hard is it to bounce back when a tough round comes in the first round, with still two more to play?
A: It was tough. Especially whenever I shot 80, I had to take a two-stroke penalty which was very stupid on my part. It happens and I overcame it and then I bounced back and it just got better. I think over the last few years, I've learned to just forget about it and move on and accept it, I guess. You can't change it, right?
Q: You tied the school record earlier this year with a 68 and then eclipsed it with a 66. What stands out about those two rounds?
A: Everything was just flowing. I focused in when I needed to but I also had good playing partners I was playing with so the mood was light, I was just having fun. Just everything felt easy, which is good.
Q: What do you think about the potential of this team as you go into the last event of the fall and build toward spring?
A: I believe that if everyone brings their A-game, even B+ or whatever, everyone has potential. It's just a matter of if they're there or not, if they brought it or if they didn't. My first round at Pinehurst, I didn't bring my A game or my B game so it wasn't very good but then I also bounced back so I think everyone needs to realize okay, bad first round, it's okay we can bounce back. I think everyone, to an extent, has improved. I think this year's been better than the last few years because we're a much stronger team and more experienced.