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Tulsa wins 2012 C-USA Women's Golf Championship.
Tulsa wins 2012 C-USA Women's Golf Championship.
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April 25, 2012

Gulf Shores, Alabama - The Tulsa women golfers led wire-to-wire to pick up its second Conference USA Women's Golf Championship Tuesday in its seven years as a league member and earn C-USA's automatic qualification to the NCAA Regional Championship.

On a sunny 70-degree day with light winds, the Hurricane turned in the day's best round with a score of six-over par 294. Tulsa carded a 54-hole total of 884 to claim a 13-stroke victory over second-place UCF at the par-72 Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club. The Hurricane placed all five golfers among the top-13 individuals led by senior Marita Engzelius' third-place performance.

Engzelius and junior Kristina Merkle earned all-tournament team honors as the duo finished among the top-5 individuals.

UCF (897), Tulane (901), Memphis and SMU (929), East Carolina (930), UTEP (944), Marshall (949), UAB (950) and Southern Miss (991) rounded out the 10-team field.

"We had very consistent play throughout the tournament and today was no different," said Tulsa Head Coach Randy Keck. "Our whole lineup gave us some good rounds. Anna Young gave us a couple great rounds and today Sarah Elliot and Kamryn Ruffin played fantastic. We rely heavily on Kristina and Marita and today some of the other players stepped up too. It was a really good team effort. We finally closed out three straight rounds.

"This victory is special, especially for our three seniors," said Keck. "We lost by just a slim margin last year and it really stung. The kids took that to heart and we made a vow last year that we were going to win this time. They stepped up and worked extremely hard leading up to it. This win is super, super special."



Tulsa's Engzelius carded a final round 78 and finished with a score of five-over par 221, five strokes behind individual medalist Maribel Porras-Lopez of Tulane. Porras-Lopez shot a final round one-under par 71 for her even-par 216 total.

Merkle had her eighth top-6 finish in nine tournaments this season as she placed fifth overall. She carded a final round 73 to finish with a six-over par 222 total as she birdied three and bogeyed four holes on the day. Senior Kamryn Ruffin had her best round of the tournament with an even-par 72 to finish with a score of 224 for seventh place. Ruffin began the day with a bogey on the par-4 first hole and bogeyed again on the par-5 eighth hole to finish the front nine at two-over par. On the back nine, Ruffin birdied holes 10, 12 and 15 and suffered a bogey on hole 11 to finish at even par.

Fellow senior Sarah Elliot finished in 11th place overall marking the fourth time in her four seasons to finish among the top-12 at the league championship. Elliot turned in a one-over par 73 on Tuesday for a three-day total of 225. She had a strong start on the front nine going three-under after five holes, but finished out the round with four bogeys.

Freshman Anna Young, playing in only her sixth career tournament, turned in her best finish of her young career with a score of 12-over par 228 for 13th place.

The victory gave Tulsa its second C-USA title in seven years as a league member, the first since winning in 2008. It also marks the 12th conference title in 19 years as a conference member. Tulsa women's golf did not join a conference until the 1993-94 season.

Since The University of Tulsa joined Conference USA in the 2005-06 season, the school has won a total of 40 conference championships, including regular season, divisional and post-season titles.

All-Tournament Team
Maribel Porras-Lopez, Tulane (individual medalist)
Felicia Espericueta, SMU
Marita Engzelius, Tulsa
Katie Mitchell, UCF
Kristina Merkle, Tulsa

Team Results 1. Tulsa 299-291-294=884 2. UCF 306-293-298=897 3. Tulane 301-296-304=901 4. Memphis 310-316-303=929 5. SMU 313-311-305=929 6. East Carolina 319-302-309=930 7. UTEP 319-314-311=944 8. Marshall 321-313-315=949 9. UAB 321-315-314=950 10. Southern Miss 347-322-322=991

Tulsa Individuals T3. Marita Engzelius71-72-78=221 5 Kristina Merkle 76-73-73=222 T7. Kamryn Ruffin 74-78-72=224 11. Sarah Elliot 78-74-73=225 T13. Anna Young 80-72-76=228

Top-5 Individuals 1. Maribel Porras-Lopez, Tulane 73-72-71=216 (E) 2. Felicia Espericueta, SMU 74-73-73=220 (+4) T3. Marita Engzelius, Tulsa 71-72-78=221 (+5) T3. Katie Mitchell, UCF 75-72-74=221 (+5) 5. Kristina Merkle 76-73-73=222 (+6)