Courtesy of Kent State's Sports Information Department
Kent State will be represented at the NCAA Women’s Golf Championships for the first time since 2010 when sophomore Jennifer Ha begins play on Tuesday, May 21. The 2013 edition of the championships will be played at the par-72, 6,335-yard University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Ga.
“It’s good for Kent State to be represented at nationals,” said associate head coach Rob Wakeling. “It’s been a few years since we’ve been there as a team. To not get there as a team this year is disappointing, but we are very excited that Jennifer will be representing our program and the university.”
Ha is scheduled for an 8:25 a.m. tee time from No. 10 for her opening round on Tuesday. The 72-hole tournament will conclude with the final round on Friday, May 24. Each participant will partake in practice rounds on Sunday and Monday. Live scoring is available on www.golfstat.com.
How She Got Here
Ha shot 1-over, 214 (73-68-73) and placed eighth at the NCAA West Regional to claim an individual berth at the NCAA Championships. She finished one stroke ahead of Florida State’s Jessica Negron for the region’s second individual spot at nationals. Ha’s 3-under, 68 in the second round was the best of her career and the low round in the field of 125 golfers. The regional performance was easily her best of the season, having posted a 222 at two tournaments. It was just the second time in her career that she shot below 220. The other time was also at the same course at the Stanford Intercollegiate in the fall of 2011.
Peaking Down the Stretch
Over the past two months, Ha has been among the nation’s elite golfers. She has a stroke average over her last four tournaments of 73.92, which is more than two strokes fewer than her season average (76.00).
“Jennifer’s gained some confidence,” Wakeling said of her marked improvement. “In golf, once you get a little confidence, everything gets a little easier. She’s worked hard on her putting with Coach [Herb] Page and she’s worked hard on her distance control. She expects to play well. She’s swinging the club very nicely and hitting the ball really well.”
Ha has finished in the top eight in each of those four tournaments, including medalist honors at the Mid-American Conference Championships and runner-up at the John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate. After opening the spring season with a +18, 234 at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic, Ha posted lower tournament scores in each successive outing.
Kent State All-Time at NCAA Championships
This will be the sixth time Kent State has participated at the NCAA Championships. The Golden Flashes have made four team appearances, most recently in 2010. The first appearance came in just the third year of the program, as the Flashes finished 15th at the 2001 NCAA Championships, their best all-time finish. The Flashes also made appearances in 2003 and 2006.
Ha joins Martina Gillen as the program’s only individuals to qualify for nationals. Gillen shot +3, 291 (74-74-70-73) and tied for 13th at the 2002 NCAA Championships.
NCAA Championships Format
The NCAA Championships will consist of a 126-golfer field, which is made of 24 teams of five golfers and six additional individuals. The four-day, 72-hole tournament will consist of 18 holes each day. The opening round will be played on Tuesday, May 21 and the championships will wrap-up on Friday, May 24.
The University of Georgia Golf Course will host the NCAA Championships for the fifth time (1971, 1981, 1983, 1993). The 6,335-yard course will play as a par-72. In 2009, the course was named one of the 25 best university golf courses in the nation by Links Magazine.