Casey Kennedy leads Georgia Regents into regionals

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Casey Kennedy will leave Georgia Regents with all the major career records. This week, she doesn’t have time to reflect upon her college days.

Kennedy  Jackie Ricciardi
Jackie Ricciardi
Kennedy

Kennedy and her Jaguar teammates will tee it up Thursday at the NCAA Division I West Regional in Cle Elum, Wash.

The 54-hole event runs through Saturday at Tumble Creek Club at Suncadia Resort, about 80 miles outside of Seattle.

Georgia Regents is seeded 10th in the 24-team West Regional. The Jaguars have to finish in the top eight to advance to the NCAA Championships for the first time in the program’s history.

Kennedy is making her fourth consecutive postseason appearance, becoming the lone Georgia Regents player ever to do so. In Kennedy’s first two years, the Jaguars qualified for postseason play. Last year, she went to regionals as an individual.

“The years before, we were just thinking about trying to do our best and maybe making it to nationals,” she said. “This is definitely a stronger team. I think we have a chance at maybe even winning regionals and making it to nationals. It’s a totally new mind-set from the past.”

In her final season at Georgia Regents, Kennedy has cemented her legacy. She holds the program’s career marks in scoring average (74.65), rounds played (120), rounds of par or better (30), birdies (306) and eagles (four). She also owns three tournament victories.

Kennedy will get an opportunity to add another title thanks to the solid play of the three freshmen (Jessica Haigwood, Josefine Nyqvist and Eunice Yi). Kennedy said she knew right away the newcomers would make an impact after watching them play in team qualifying.

“I knew from there we had a pretty good team,” Kennedy said. “It’s the best team we’ve had since I’ve been here. It was easy to see right away they had talent.”

Haigwood added: “I’m happy we’ve been able to provide a steady team for her to go to regionals and hopefully nationals.”

During the season, the Jaguars finished fifth or better in eight of nine full-field events. The team placed second twice at the Lady Paladin Invitational and Lady Puerto Rico Classic and posted their worst finish (sixth) at their home event in March.

Georgia Regents saved its best for the last regular-season tournament.

At the University of Mississippi’s Rebel Intercollegiate, the Jaguars opened with the low round at 286. Despite shooting over par the final two rounds, Georgia Regents held on for a three-shot victory over Kennesaw State.

Kennedy, the lone senior in the lineup, leads the team with a 74.21 stroke average, with seven top-20 finishes. Haigwood leads the freshmen with a 74.72 average and a win at the Rebel Intercollegiate. Just behind Haigwood is Yi (74.83) and Nyqvist (75.07). Also joining the lineup for the regionals is junior Shannon Pak (84.9).

SENIOR NAMED ALTERNATE

The Georgia Regents men’s golf team didn’t qualify for the NCAA Division I regionals, but Jaguar senior and team MVP Alex Wennstam has earned a berth as an alternate to compete as an individual in the regional at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club, starting May. 15.

Wennstam played in 10 tournaments in the 2013-14 season with a 73.76 scoring average. He shot par or better 12 times, while posting three rounds in the 60s with 66 being his low round. Wennstam’s best finish was an eighth-place showing at the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate.

– From staff reports


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