Women’s golf first UMHB team to win DIII National Championship
The women’s golf team outdueled a conference rival and difficult course conditions to bring home the first NCAA Division III National Championship in school history with an eight-stroke victory at the Division III Women’s Golf National Championships on May 17 in Destin, Fla. The win is just the second national title in UMHB athletic history, joining the women’s golf team’s 2000 NAIA National Championship.
The Cru finished with a final round total of 311 for a four-day team score of 306-311-311-311=1239, an eight-stroke victory over American Southwest Conference rival U.T.-Tyler. There was a 21-team field and six individuals competing in the tournament. The Cru also set a new school record for low 72-hole team total with the 1,239 score, breaking the old record of 1,267 set by last year’s Division III National Championships.
“I am so proud of my teammates and the way they stepped up this week,” Taylor O’Rear said. “I am so excited. There are no words.”
O’Rear posted the top individual finish for the UMHB women after shooting a final-round 73. O’Rear’s four-day total of 79-75-74-73=301 placed her in third place individually. Her 301 total also set a new school record for low 72-hole score, besting the previous mark of 307 set by Holly Glover in the 2005 NCAA Division III National Tournament.
The Cru finished in the top five in all of its 10 tournaments this season, including victories in the Alamo Classic, Jekyll Island Women’s College Invitational, and 2013 American Southwest Conference Women’s Golf Championship. O’Rear had individual victories in the Golfweek Division III Fall Preview, Alamo Classic to go with her second consecutive individual title at the ASC Championship Tournament. UMHB became just the second school to win a national championship since the tournament became solely a Division III competition in 2000.
“I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to coach these girls,” Cru Head Coach Darla Kirby said. “This has been a tremendous experience, and I am so glad to have been a part of it. To win a national championship in my last season as a coach is something I cannot even describe.”