Susan Martin, 2008 and 2009 NCAA D-III individual champion, looked at the six she had signed for on the 10th hole of round two at the D-III Women’s Championship at Florida’s Mission Inn Resort and told her coach it should have been a seven. The Methodist University senior was gunning for her third consecutive D-III individual title until NCAA Officials informed her that the infraction disqualified her for the day. At least Martin earned 2010 D-III Player of the Year honors from the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA), and she and her Methodist Monarch teammates claimed their 13th consecutive NCAA D-III Championship.
Domination by one team is possible because Methodist is the only D-III institution offering a PGA Professional Golf Management program degree, and all five Methodist players are working toward their PGM degree. Martin will collect her diploma and finish her college career with four team D-III titles and NGCA Academic honors (GPA higher than 3.5).
Had Martin’s second-round score been reported correctly, and days three and four played out the same, Martin would have finished one stroke behind 2010 Champion and NGCA 2009 D-III Player of the Year Jessica Urban of University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. In fact, Martin and Urban have been the dominant D-III players the last two years. Martin shot 73-71-73-77=294 in winning the 2009 title at PGA Golf Club in Port St.Lucie, Florida with Urban three shots back firing 75-74-75-73=297. Urban finished 14 strokes ahead of third place.
The El Campeon Course at Mission Inn played about 2.5 strokes more difficult each day in 2010 than the PGA Club in 2009. The field scoring average in 2010 was 86.94 per round compared to 84.57 in 2009. Urban won the 2010 crown with 81-79-76-77=313, and Martin shot 78-DQ-78-78.
Reasons to appreciate and applaud NCAA D-III athletics include the Carroll University team that finished last in the 20-team field. With morning tee-times the last day Carroll completed play early. Coach Dave Andrews inquired about the awards ceremony and was told it would be at the end of play late in the afternoon. His players wanted to stay and take in the entire experience of their trip to the national championship earned by winning the Midwest Conference title.
Carroll University is the oldest (1846, before Wisconsin became a state) four-year college/university in Wisconsin with an enrollment of 2,500 located in Waukesha about 15 miles west of Milwaukee. There are no athletic scholarships allowed in NCAA D-III, but 98% of students at Carroll receive financial aid ($49 million in 2009-10). The most popular majors are Exercise Science, Nursing, Business and Education out of 60 areas of study and an average class size of 20.
The Carroll team managed to post only a few rounds under 90 while competing in their national championship, but they could not be more thrilled with their experience.
Readers, take note: There are hundreds of D-III men’s and women’s teams waiting to hear from you!