published Sunday, April 13th, 2014

UTC tries for fifth women's title in row

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Mocs golfer Jordan Britt.
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Mocs golfer Jordan Britt.
Photo by Staff File Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Every team is a little different for University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's golf coach Colette Murray.

Almost all of them have been champions. Her Mocs have won four consecutive Southern Conference titles and will go for their fifth in a row starting today at Moss Creek Golf Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

This team, with just one senior in Jordan Britt, needs to win the championship or its season will be over.

"I don't think we did enough [in the last tournament], so this week is do-or-die for our postseason play," Murray said. "I think we were in that situation last year."

That situation is similar to last year, but not all years, because the Mocs have been ranked high enough sometimes to earn at-large berths in the NCAA tournament. But they didn't need it.

Since UTC restarted its women's program under Murray, the team has placed fifth and runner-up in the conference tournament, followed by the four straight championships.

"A lot of teams will have a couple of good players, but it's the fourth or fifth player who gets it done for your team," Murray said. "I do think we are the best team in the league, and we've proved that in the ranking through the regular season.

UTC is ranked No. 68 in the nation. Elon is No. 83, UNC Greensboro is No. 95 and Samford is No. 99 as the only other SoCon teams in the top 100.

"Elon, Greensboro and Samford, they've all had pretty decent years," Murray said. "I'm confident that if we go play, no one can beat us."

UTC has returned home with the medalist trophy the last three years. The streak started with Emma de Groot and continued with Britt winning in 2012 and Agathe Sauzon winning last year as a sophomore.

Britt, Sauzon or sophomore Emily McLennan could be in the hunt this week. McLennan has one SoCon player of the week award this season. Britt has three and the inside track to player of the year.

"I need to keep on with my putting, and I'm confident going in," said McLennan, who grew up in Australia. "I was part of it last year, and it's awesome to have four straight years of winning."

No matter what happens, this will be Britt's final SoCon tournament. The former high school standout at GPS and Signal Mountain wants to ensure that it's not her final college tournament.

"I'm not going to cry on the first tee, but maybe after my last putt on the last day," she said. "I don't want my season to end any sooner than it has to."

Nor do her teammates.

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP

about David Uchiyama...

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 ...

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