Emma de Groot rode home from Hilton Head Island, S.C., with a Southern Conference women’s golf championship trophy in the van for a second straight year.
In fact, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior had more than one trophy to enjoy Tuesday.
She helped win the team championship as the Mocs shot a three-day total of 36-over-par 900, which smoked runner-up College of Charleston by 30 strokes.
She also had the medalist trophy again after firing a 3-over 219 at Moss Creek Golf Club. And she claimed the SoCon player of the year award.
“I putted really well all week. I holed a lot of good putts to keep my rounds going or pick myself up,” de Groot said by cell phone. “We need to celebrate this team trophy for a day or two, then fix what we need to fix because competition is going to be stronger in a couple of weeks.”
UTC will play in one of three NCAA regional tournaments, which begin May 4 in Florida, Indiana and Washington.
“We’ve only been here for four years, and this is where we want to be and what we want to do,” coach Colette Murray said. “We have to think bigger picture. This is a steppingstone. We’re delighted to bring home the SoCon championship, but we have a lot of work to do.”
De Groot, who made 11 birdies, had 14 bogeys and nothing worse in her 54 holes. UTC freshman Jordan Britt, who prepped at GPS and Signal Mountain, finished runner-up at 222.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said Britt, who shot a tournament-best final-round 70. “I’m just a freshman and I already have one championship under my belt. I kept my head in the game, and it all came together for me.”
Maria Juliana Loza tied for fifth at 230, Christine Wolf tied for seventh at 231 and UTC freshman Marion Duvernay tied for 26th at 242.
It was a dominant performance overall, especially in the final round when UTC shot 4 over par — 10 strokes better than any other team.
“Today was the only day that we played well,” Murray said. “Collectively, we didn’t play great as a team the first two days, but we did today and put up good numbers.”
Good enough to win by 30 and cruise home with the trophy.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...