With five victories in the 2016-17 season, the Murray State women’s golf team looks for the Racers’ 10th Ohio Valley Conference title when the league championship begins play Monday at Hampton Cove Golf Club in Owens Cross Roads, Alabama.
When 54 holes have been played (April 17-19) the Racers aspire to be OVC champions and advance to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2014.
Coach Velvet Milkman’s lineup features the defending OVC champ and a mixture of young talent and capable experience. MSU enjoys three of the top scoring averages in the OVC.
Murray State Lineup
Moa Folke, Jr., Tranas, Sweden: A candidate for OVC Player of the Year, Folke won this title at this course a year ago. She’s currently second in the OVC with a 74.0 scoring average, just behind Eastern Kentucky’s Elsa Moberly who has a 73.8 average. Folke has a career-low round of 67 that she carded (March 20) at the Spring Citrus Challenge in Sorrento, Fla. She has six top-5 finishes this season and won the MSU Jan Weaver Invitational (April 7). Folke also won the Chris Banister Classic (Sept. 27) in Glencoe, Alabama.
Lucila Puente Rodriguez de Austria, Fr., Sevilla, Spain: She might be just a freshman, but Lucila Puente has performed like a veteran with a scoring average (74.3) that is third in the OVC. In 10 events, she’s carded four top-5 finishes and had her first collegiate win at the Weaver Invitational when she was co-champ with Folke.
Linette Holmslykke, So., Vejle, Denmark: She came to the Racer program as a transfer from West Alabama and found a groove quickly last fall. Her scoring average of 74.5 is fifth in the OVC. She record a 4-under-par 68 at the Kiawah Island Classic (Feb. 27) and had a second place finish (Oct. 4) at the Missouri Valley Conference Preview in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
Anna Moore, Jr., Hopkinsville, Ky.: A local product from University Heights Academy, Moore is playing in her second OVC Championship. Moore is 13th in the OVC with a 77.1 scoring average and has earned three top-10 finishes in the 2016-17 season. Her career low round came last fall at the MVC Preview with a 1-under-par 71. Moore placed eighth at last week’s Weaver Invitational with scores of 77-74-77=228.
Raeysha Surendran, Fr., Selangor, Malaysia: A player with extensive international experience prior to her arrival at Murray State, Surendran has played her best golf of late. She has a scoring average of 77.3 in eight events, but in her last three starts, her average is more than a stroke and a half lower (75.7) and she had an eighth place finish (March 28) at the John Kirk Panther Invitational in Stockbridge, Georgia. Surendran is part of a trio of Racers, along with Puente and Holmslykke, who’re playing their first OVC Championship in their first appearance at the Fighting Joe Course.
Just Win Baby!
This famous line from late Oakland Raiders owner Art Davis in the NFL could be the rally cry for this bunch of Racers this season. The Racers enter the OVC Championship with all of the momentum in the world. They’ve won three-straight events and have matched the program record of five that was accomplished by the 2013-14 team that won MSU’s last OVC title. MSU has won events this season in five different states.
2016-17 MSU Tournament Titles
09-27-16, CHRIS BANISTER CLASSIC, Silver Lakes GC, Glencoe, Ala.
10-03-16, MVC PREVIEW, Dalhousie GC, Cape Girardeau, Mo.
03-06-17, OCALA SPRING COLLEGIATE, Jacksonville CC, Jacksonville, Fla.
03-28-17, GEORGIA STATE INTERCOLLEGIATE, Eagle’s Landing GC, Stockbridge, Ga.
04-07-17, JAN WEAVER INVITATIONAL, Miller Memorial GC, Murray, Ky.
Can Anybody Catch The Colonels?
The Racers will be trying to do something that nobody has been able to do and that is catch and pass Eastern Kentucky. The Colonels have an excellent squad with a lot of experience and look for a third-straight title ater winning at Hampton Cove in 2015 and 2016.
The Racers and Colonels went head to head in a well-played match (March 28) at the Panther Intercollegiate. After they finished each with an 888 total score, MSU won the playoff.
About Hampton Cove
The OVC first played at Hampton Cove in 2015, which is one of the stops along Alabama’s famed Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. This season will be their third-straight year at the venue.
Hampton Cove, the northern gateway to the Trail, is a 54-hole facility with terrain that drastically changes from one side of the property to the other. Renovated in 2008, The Highlands course has been restored to its original Scottish Links design. The finishing holes are scenic and challenging and one of the most recognizable landmarks on the Trail is the old mule barn beside the fifth hole.
For the OVC Championship, Hampton Cove will play to a par-72 (36-36) and to a length of 6,050 yards.
Racer OVC Championship History
The Racers’ winning tradition in OVC Golf under Head Coach Velvet Milkman is remarkable. She is the only coach MSU has ever had since the program was launched in 1993. MSU has posted nine OVC Championship victories in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, and 2014. Milkman has nine matching OVC Coach of the Year honors.
The Racers have seven medalist winners at the OVC Championship including Jenny Daag (1998 & 1999), Cuyler Hedley (2003), Lee Anne Pace (2004), Nikki Orazine (2005), Delaney Howson (2014) and Moa Folke (2016).
In the 23 previous OVC Championships, the Racers have had an individual finish in fifth place or better every time. MSU has 17 individual finishes of third place or better.
The Racers will play their practice round on Sunday at 12:50 p.m.
All players will begin from the first tee in all three days of the competition. The first group off each day will be at 8 a.m.
The Racers are paired with Austin Peay and Morehead State in round one with Folke hitting MSU’s first shot at 8:50 a.m. Monday.
After Monday’s first round, the OVC teams get together at the Hampton Cove Clubhouse for the annual awards banquet when All-OVC honors will be announced.
The OVC men’s event will be played (April 24-26) in Muscle Shoals, Ala., at The Shoals Golf Club, another stop on the RTJ Golf trail.
Racer OVC Tournament Facts & Records
First Appearance: 1994 (First season for MSU & OVC)
First Championship: 1997
Last Championship: 2014
Medalist Winners: 7
First Medalist: Jenny Daag (1998)
Last Medalist: Moa Folke (2016)
Low Team Single Round: 297 (2011)
High Team Single Round: 356 (1994, MSU’s first round)
Low Individual Single Round: 68, Delaney Howson (2014)
High Individual Single Round: 88, Cyuler Hedley (2002)
Murray State Athletics – Assistant AD – Media Relations