ASU women’s golf team wins SWAC title

 The Alabama State women’s golf team won its second straight Southwestern Athletic Conference championship Tuesday at Links On The Bayou Golf Course. 


The Lady Hornets’ two-day total of 618 was 50 strokes better than Texas Southern, which owned an 11-shot lead over Jackson State for second place. Prairie View A&M finished fourth, followed by Mississippi Valley State.
Alabama State won its third conference title in four years and will learn its NCAA tournament destination on Monday at 5 p.m. The selection show will be televised live by the Golf Channel.
“As a team, this is a special group,” said Alabama State coach Gary Grandison, who won SWAC women’s coach of the year honors for the second straight season. “They are good students, and they are maturing as a collective group.


They’ve earned this championship by really jelling together and recognizing what it takes to actually play your best golf.”
Alabama State had six of the top eight finishers, led by low medalist Janelle Kraakman, who shot a career-best 73 on Tuesday to finish with a two-day total of four-over 148.


“It’s a testament to her maturity,” Grandison said. “She’s a sophomore but is playing more like a junior or senior. It had nothing to do with swing mechanics, but everything to do with being in the right frame of mind.”
Kraakman had a 38 on the front nine, but closed with a birdie on the 15th, 17th and 18th holes to win by two strokes over Texas Southern’s Kassandra Rivera.


“My putting was very good this week,” Janelle Kraakman said. “It gave me a lot of confidence. If you don’t have confidence when you are trying to make a putt for birdie or par, it’s hard. I was pretty confident today. I wasn’t really thinking about the birdies at the end because I had just bogeyed the previous holes. I was just trying to get shots back. I wasn’t expecting three birdies. I was just trying to keep calm.”


Alabama State freshman Dismary Marquez finished third with a two-day total of 154, followed by teammates Brooklyn Kraakman (157) in fourth and Mia Campbell (161) and Shanon Spinuzzi (161) in a tie for fifth.
The two-time defending conference champion men’s team, meanwhile, extended its lead over second-place Jackson State after shooting a one-over 289 on the second day of competition on Tuesday at nearby Oak Wing Golf Club.


Just one day after a career-low four-under-par 68 on Monday, ASU sophomore Branson Ferrier bested that mark on Tuesday with a seven-under 65 to post a 10-shot lead over second-place Phillip Fitzgerald of Alabama A&M, who has a two-day total of 143.


“I’m really pleased with today’s effort,” Grandison said. “Branson played lights out. The other guys did what they needed to do. Even though they may not be pleased with their rounds individually, as a team they put together a much better second round than they did last year. The focus now is just to finish.”


The Hornets have four of the top eight individual scores, with Francis Berthiaume (146) in third, one shot ahead of teammate Yann Pfeiffer, who is tied with Aarron Rainey for fourth place.

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