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Bruin women take ninth at NCAA DIII tournament in Florida


HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. — Led by Sydney Maluenda’s seventh-place showing, George Fox placed ninth in its fifth consecutive appearance at the rain-plagued Division III national championships, which ended Friday after four rounds at the Mission Inn Resort.

After losing both the 2013 DIII player of the year and another All-West region player to graduation, and with no seniors returning to the roster, head coach MaryJo McCloskey wasn’t quite sure what to expect from her 2013-2014 Bruins.

 “If you had told me at the beginning of the fall that we would win our conference and then finish in the top 10 here after losing two top seniors and bringing four players to nationals who had never played in this event before, I would not have believed it.” 

The second and third rounds on Wednesday and Thursday were both halted for four hours due to lightning storms that pushed each round into the next day.  As a result, due to time constraints, the fourth round was limited to the top 12 teams and top six individuals not on those teams in order to determine national team and individual champions.

George Fox carded rounds of 328, 333, 332 and 335 to finish at 1,328 on the par-72, 5,844-yard course, five strokes behind DePauw (1,323) and two shots ahead of Carthage College (1,330).  

Rhodes College, in its first national appearance, led virtually wire-to-wire and shot the best round of the tournament (308) on the last day to win going away with a 1,256. In second was last year’s champion, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, at 1,280, with Williams College third at 1,285.

Maluenda ended her spectacular rookie season tied for seventh on the leader board with last year’s medalist, Laura Lindsey of the University of Texas-Tyler. 

Maluenda, who on Wednesday was named the D-III national freshman of the year, All-West region and first team All-America by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association, shot a 28-over-par 316 after rounds of 76, 81, 79 and 80.

Hailey Ostrom turned in the second-best score of the tournament for the Bruins, tying for 40th with a 335. One shot back of her was Loreece Magsanide with an 336, which tied her for 42nd. Melissa Nugent finished 55th with a 347 and Madison Perry came in 64th with a 362.

Georgiana Salant of Williams took medalist honors with a 15-over-par 303.

“We are happy with a top 10 finish, but a little disappointed in our performance overall as we know we left a lot of strokes out there,” McCloskey said. “The course is very strategic and challenging, and one mistake on any hole can lead to a big number, and for us, that was the difference. All in all, though, it was an amazing experience for this young team, and we are motivated to get back next year.”