Clemson, S.C.—The Clemson women’s golf team will open play at the NCAA Athens Regional in Athens, Georgia on Monday, May 8 at 7:30 a.m. The 10th seeded Tigers will be paired with Augusta and Auburn for the first round and the three teams will begin play on the 10th tee.
Marisa Messana will be the first Clemson player on the course at 7:30 a.m., while Kennedy Swann will start at 7:39 a.m. Junior Sydney Legacy begins at 7:48 a.m. and freshman Ana Paula Valdes starts at 7:57 a.m. Number-one player Alice Hewson will be the final Tiger off the 10th tee at 8:06 a.m. It will be the second NCAA Tournament fro Messana, Legacy and Hewson, while freshmen Swann and Valdes will be playing in their first NCAA Tournament.
This will be Clemson’s third appearance in the NCAA Regional Tournament in the four years of the Clemson women’s golf program. Clemson finished 13th out of 24 teams in 2014 and eighth out of 18 teams last year.
The three-day, 54-hole event will be played, May 8-10 at the University of Georgia Golf Course. Clemson will have to finish in the top six of the 18-team regional to advance to the NCAA National Tournament at Rich Harvest Farms Golf Club in Sugar Grove, Ill., May 19-24.
While the Clemson program is in just its fourth year, this is the 13th NCAA appearance for Head Coach Kelley Hester in 16 years as a head coach. She has taken five teams to NCAA Nationals, including last season when she was the head coach at Furman.
This year, Hester has led Clemson to five top-five finishes against a schedule that is ranked 24th best in the nation by Golfweek. Clemson is coming off a program-best fifth-place finish at the ACC Tournament at Pawley’s Island. In February, the program won its first tournament, the UCF Challenge in Orlando, Fla.
Hewson is ranked 26th in the nation by Golfweek and 27th by Golfstat. The native of the United Kingdom has five top-10 finishes in Clemson’s 10 tournaments and has a 71.83 stroke average, on pace to be the best in Clemson history for a season. She finished 20th at the NCAA Regional at Shoal Creek (Ala.) last year as a freshman.
Valdes is second on the team in stroke average at 73.93. The freshman from Mexico finished eighth at the ACC Tournament, the best individual finish on record for a Clemson women’s golfer at the league event. She had three consecutive rounds of even par 72, the first Clemson women’s golfer to have three straight rounds of par or better at the ACC Tournament.
Sydney Legacy is third on the team in stroke average at 74.52, while Kennedy Swann is at 74.67. Junior Marisa Messana will be in the lineup for the 11th consecutive tournament. The native of Fort Lauderdale who is a 4.0 student, is fifth on the team in stroke average at 76.24
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