CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern competes for an NCAA Regional bid this Friday and Saturday at the 2018 Big South Conference Championship. CSU, the No. 3 seed in the nine-team field, is slated to tee off between 8:50 and 9:30 a.m. Friday, with the second round immediately following. Final round play is set for Saturday at The Patriot at Grand Harbor in Ninety Six, S.C.
Field (Seedings/Golfstat national ranking): No. 1 Campbell (36), No. 2 Winthrop (140), No. 3 Charleston Southern (167), No. 4 High Point (170), No. 5 Presbyterian (181), No. 6 UNC Asheville (184), No. 7 Longwood (221), No. 8 Gardner-Webb (228), No. 9 Radford (231)
Course: The Patriot at Grand Harbor – Ninety Six, S.C. – Par 72 – 6,175 yards
Live Scoring: www.Golfstat.com
CSU's Tee Times: Friday's First Round – 8:50-9:30 a.m. (Off No. 1)
Friday's Second Round – 1:50-2:30 p.m. (Off No. 1)
Saturday's Final Round – Dependent on Leaderboard (8-9:35 a.m.)
Recent CSU results in Big South Championship
2017: 6th as team (McNeill T-14th; Ohara 31st) (Held at The Patriot)
2016: 3rd as team (McNeill T-6th)
2015: 4th as team (McNeill T-12th)
2014: 6th as team (Held at The Patriot)
CSU has enjoyed an up and down spring but enters confident it can contend behind seniors Hayley McNeill, Milleina Ohara and Emelie Flink. Andriel Aimua and Daniela Intriago earned the fourth and fifth spots in the Bucs' lineup thanks to strong play in qualifying at The Golf Club at Wescott Plantation.
CSU coach Matt Cram-Smith believes familiarity with The Patriot and a positive mindset gives his team a chance to put itself in position this weekend.
"I'm expecting a good week and I know all the girls are too," Cram-Smith said. "They've practiced very hard this past week after the Charleston Invitational and everyone's hitting the ball a little bit better and chipping and putting better. If we play to our ability, we've definitely got a chance. It's just a matter of staying relaxed, putting good swings on it and getting it in the hole."
McNeill and Ohara enter the tournament ranked 11th and 12th, respectively, in the Big South in scoring averaged. Cram-Smith said McNeill has tinkered with her swing recently in practice in hopes of returning to the form she's shown for much of the past two seasons. Ohara has been perhaps the Bucs' steadiest contributor throughout the spring and comes off a team-best T-42nd at the Charleston Invitational.
Flink, who did not play in the Big South Championship last year, will also look to cap her career on a high note. Aimua and Intriago have earned opportunities to play this spring and are hoping to solidify the back end of CSU's lineup.
"We know we can play so we just have to stay the course, relax and play smart," Cram-Smith said. "We're looking forward to playing some good golf."