Champagne wasn't available.
But it would have been appropriate for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's golf team members who are of age.
They won their most important tournament of the year.
The Mocs captured their fifth straight Southern Conference championship and earned an automatic berth into the NCAA regionals with a five-stroke victory over runner-up Furman on Tuesday at Moss Creek Golf Club in Hilton Head, S.C. UTC shot 915 with a 308 in Tuesday's tough weather. Next behind the Paladins at 920 was Samford at 936.
"We stayed composed when the weather was horrendous, and we stuck to our game plan of being strong until the end, and we pulled it out," said UTC's Colette Murray, the SoCon coach of the year. "Our mentality was wonderful. I saw some heads go down, but I told them to stay on top. I thought our ladies embraced what was put in front of them, and I'm really proud of what we did today."
UTC sophomore Emily McLennan of Australia earned medalist honors by shooting a 6-over-par 222 for the three rounds.
"I stuck to my game plan," McLennan said. "I played the par-5s really well, and that had a lot to do with placement. I took opportunities when they came but stayed patient and didn't force anything."
Senior Jordan Britt, who prepped at GPS and Signal Mountain, placed third with rounds of 80, 69 and 80. She feared that her college career would be over if UTC did not win this week.
Britt, who was named SoCon women's golfer of the year, will be wearing blue-and-gold at least one more time because the Mocs are in the women's golf version of the Big Dance.
"It was a tough day, but we all took care of business," Britt said. "It's great, especially as a senior, knowing that the season is not over. I don't want it to end any sooner than it has to."
Britt, McLennan and Agathe Sauzon were named to the all-conference team. UTC will learn of its NCAA destination and opponents on April 28. The Mocs could be playing in Tallahassee, Fla.; Stillwater, Okla.; or Cle Elum, Wash.
"It was a tough day. It poured all day," Britt said. "But we took care of business."
Contact David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamCTFP.
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 ...