|Jack Duggan, Assistant Athletic Director/Media Relations
Hattiesburg, Miss. - Southern Miss junior Kelly Erasmus (Capetown, South Africa) and freshman Henriette Syr (Oslo, Norway) each fired an even-par 72 in the final round of the Conference USA Championship at the Verandah Club in Ft. Myers, Fla., Wednesday, to help lead the Golden Eagles finish third and complete a historic season for the program.
The third-place showing marked the highest-ever standing for the Golden Eagles in the C-USA Championship as the squad’s final round of 293 was the lowest round by the squad this season. The 54-hole stroke total of 896 also established a season-low for the Golden Eagles.
"Today was a special day for our program and I'm so proud of these girls,” said first-year Golden Eagle coach Erika Brennan. “They played courageous golf today and fought to the very end."
For the first time in its history, Southern Miss boasted three top 10 finishers in the C-USA Championship, which was played at the par 72, 6,194-yard course.
Erasmus, who collected 14 pars and two birdies over her final 18 holes, ended the event as the top Golden Eagle finisher with a sixth-place tie by posting a season-low, 54-hole total of 220.
Freshman Valentina Haupt (Santiago, Chile) shot a 76 for the second-straight day to end her tournament at 222 and placing 8th in the event. Haupt, who won a tournament title earlier this spring, led the field after the first of this three-day event with a two-under 70.
Syr improved her standing by eight spots on the final day by collecting her first par round as a collegian and ending the event with a 224, to tie for 10th-place.
Junior Devon Spriddle (Lethbridge, Alberta) shot her tournament low round of 73 over the final 18 holes to end the tournament with a stroke total of 230 and a 26th-place showing, while junior Emily Ross (Diamondhead, Miss.) added a 78 for a 237 tournament total and a 38th-place finish.
Southern Miss completed the tournament 20 strokes behind league champion Middle Tennessee (876) and seven back of second place Old Dominion (889), capping the most successful season in the program’s history with two team titles and seven of 10 tournament finishes of fourth place or higher during the year. The program also established their best scoring average of 306.45 for the year as well.
"This team of young ladies is just amazing,” said Brennan. “It's hard to put in to words - I get choked up thinking of how hard they have worked and how they bought in back in August. It's been an unforgettable season. They are so deserving of this moment and their success. They peaked at the right time saving their best performance for last."
Following Southern Miss in the team standings were UTSA and WKU (907), FIU (912), Marshall and UTEP (928), UAB (935), Florida Atlantic (944) and North Texas (949).
Meghan MacLaren of FIU shot a final-round 69 to win the individual title with a 213, defeating Hanley Long of Middle Tennessee by two strokes.