Top college golf programs in town for 15th Annual Landfall Tradition

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WILMINGTON — A cavalcade of the nation’s top women’s golf teams journey to the North Carolina coast this week for the 15th anniversary of one of the top collegiate golf events in the nation, The Landfall Tradition.

The three-day event, hosted by UNCW, runs Friday through Sunday, Oct. 28-30, 2016, at the Country Club of Landfall’s pristine Pete Dye golf course. Play begins at 8:30 a.m. daily. Admission is free. Plenty of free parking is also available.

The Landfall Tradition tees off on Friday morning. Photo courtesy- UNCW Sports
The Landfall Tradition tees off on Friday morning. (Photo courtesy- UNCW Sports)

“The members and staff at the Country Club of Landfall have created one of the best tournaments in the country due to their incredible support and commitment,” said UNCW Head Coach Cindy Ho. “The Dye Golf Course is a championship layout that is always in outstanding condition. Superintendent Jeff Mack enjoys getting the bent grass greens to top speed to test the players’ skill.

“To see so many members within the club and throughout the community volunteer and come out to watch the event makes the Tradition very special to the players,” Ho said.

Eight of the nation’s top 24 teams in this week’s GolfStat rankings are competing in the tournament, including Alabama (No. 1), Furman (No. 2), Purdue (No. 12), Wake Forest (No. 13), North Carolina (No. 16), UCF  (No.17), South Carolina (No. 19) and Oklahoma (No. 24). The Crimson Tide won the 2013 NCAA title and Purdue captured the 2010 NCAA crown.

A total of 18 teams and 96 players will arrive for Thursday’s practice round in preparation for play on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The teams will play 18 holes each day on the rolling Par 72, 6,166-yard layout.

In addition to UNCW, the field features Alabama, Brown, Clemson, Furman, Iowa, Michigan State, North Carolina, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Penn State, Purdue, South Carolina, Texas Tech, UCF, Virginia and Wake Forest. Brown, Iowa and Oklahoma are making their first appearance in the coveted event.

The Demon Deacons have won the tournament three times (2007, 2008, 2014), while Purdue owns two titles (2005, 2011) and Alabama (2013) and Virginia (2006) also have championship hardware.

Individually, four of the top 10 golfers in the GolfStat rankings are slated to compete. Sophomore Cheyenne Knight of Alabama is ranked second and Wake Forest sophomore Jennifer Kupcho checks in at third. South Carolina senior Katelyn Dambaugh and Alabama sophomore Lauren Stephenson are tied for seventh on the GolfStat list.

Michigan State junior Sarah Burnham returns to defend her title after matching the tournament record with a 6-under-par 66 in the third round last year. She fashioned a 71-74-66=211 total for a one-shot victory over Dambaugh in a tight finish.

Overall, the talented field hails from 28 different states and 22 countries. A total of 50 teams have competed in the Tradition over the last 14 years.