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There is no "off-season" for Virginia Golf

Hey Wahoo fans! Now that I’ve graduated, I’m really excited to have been invited to write a golf blog for StreakingtheLawn! I hope I can give you all some behind-the-scenes insight into what’s happening with our men’s and women’s teams this summer and as they head into the Fall 2010 season!

The past month has been really successful for the Virginia women’s golfers. Fourth-year Calle Nielson followed her All-American third-year campaign with a victory at the Tennessee Women’s Amateur at the end of June. She claimed the title over Ole Miss junior Ashley Lance 2&1 in the 18-hole final match. It was Calle’s first Tenn. Am title, but she becomes the second Wahoo to claim victory there as former UVa standout Rachel Smith (’07) won two Tenn. Am titles while at Virginia.

Redshirt third-year Lauren Greenlief won her second consecutive Virginia Women’s Stroke Play title at Kingsmill’s Woods Course in late June. She proved to be clutch as she birdied the final four holes of regulation to match former UNC Wilmington golfer Christie Appleton’s final-round 70 and the 54-hole total of 2-under-par 214.  In the playoff, she made a 12-foot birdie putt from just off the putting surface on the seventh extra hole to claim the title. She followed that performance with a runner-up finish in the Virginia Women’s Amateur Match Play in July.

Second-year Brittany Altomare qualified for and played in her second consecutive US Women’s Open, held this year at Pittsburgh’s famous Oakmont Country Club. She claimed medalist honors at her qualifier in Massachusetts at -2 par 140 (71-69), beating out former Duke standout and current LPGA pro Liz Janangelo by two shots. Then, playing on the most difficult Women’s Open test in history (greens at 13-14 on the stimpmeter!), and battling a bulky driver, Altomare came back from a first-day 84 to shoot a second-round 77.  While it was not the outcome she may have been looking for, the experience of playing in another Women’s Open will only give her more confidence and maturity heading into her second-year campaign after garnering honorable mention All-American honors as a first-year. As an added bonus, by virtue of qualifying for the Open, Brittany automatically made the 156-woman field for the US Amateur in Charlotte in August.

In mid-July four additional Virginia team members qualified for the US Women’s Am, to be held at Charlotte Country Club August 9-15th. Calle Nielson, Eleana Collins, Nicole Agnello, and Lauren Greenlief each punched their tickets to Charlotte through sectional qualifiers. Nielson tied for medalist honors at Sapona Country Club in Lexington, NC with a 68. She eagled the par-5 first hole, made three more birdies and a bogey to tie UNC senior All-American Catherine O’Donnell for low score.

In the same qualifier, Collins played a consistent round to shoot even par-72 to make it on the number. Agnello qualified when she won a four-person for three-spot playoff at The Wanderers Club in Florida after posting even-par 72. And Greenlief made it on the number out of the Country Club of York in Pennsylvania, overcoming a quadruple bogey on 16 to shoot 4-over 76 and win in a playoff for the final three spots.

Aside from the US Open, the US Am is the most prestigious amateur tournament you can qualify for in the country, so for the women’s team to qualify five to compete down there is huge and bodes really well for the upcoming 2010 season. In fact, no other university will have more girls representing than UVa will down in Charlotte. Five of the top 150 amateurs in the country playing for the Wahoos next year? Sounds pretty awesome to me!  I’m hoping to make it down there to watch them play in August, so hopefully I can get some interviews and on-course analysis for you guys. I know Charlotte has a ton of Wahoo alumni, so if you get a free day to go watch, the girls would love your support out there!

This week, the members of the men’s team have their qualifiers for the US Amateur and I’ll have a recap of the men’s summer highlights following those. I’ll also be interviewing both Bowen Sargent and Kim Lewellen in August about the upcoming season outlook, their new first-years, and their thoughts on the summer golf results. If you have any other questions you want answered or ideas for the blog, send me an email and I’ll do my best to get some information! Until then, Wahoowa!!