No. 7-ranked Shorter got off to a rocky start in Friday’s fourth and final round and never could recover, settling for a fifth place finish at the NAIA women’s national championship at the Link Hills Country Club in Greeneville, Tenn.
Freshman Pauline Schopp managed a 75 (+2).
The fifth-place finish comes on the heels of Shorter’s program-best third place finish one year ago and marks the first time in program history that the Lady Hawks have recorded back-to-back top five national finishes.
Shorter, which began the day eight shots out of the lead, shot 15-over as a team on the front nine to essentially drop out of contention.
The Lady Hawks got back on track on the back nine, but their final score of 315 left the Lady Hawks at 1231 (+63) for the tournament, 20 strokes behind national champion British Columbia, which outdueled SCAD-Savannah by two strokes to capture the championship.
The consistency that had kept the Lady Hawks in contention through the first 54 holes abandoned the team on Friday’s front nine.
Schopp was the only Lady Hawk to avoid big trouble on Friday and, in turn, earned a spot on the All-Tournament team by way of her 10th place national finish.
Schopp, who finished the first round tied for the lead after firing a two-under 71 on Tuesday, registered four birdies on Friday and finished the day with a 75 (+2). She ended her tourney stay at +8 and tied for 10th with four other competitors.
Shorter’s other competitors weren’t so fortunate, but still managed to recover enough to post very admirable finishes in the 143-athlete field.
Sophomore Maria Bengtsson, who placed 20th in last year’s national championship, repeated the feat in 2012, closing out her tournament with an 80 (+7). Bengtsson birdied 1, 8 and 18 to help counter a triple bogey on 14 and help herself to the 20th place finish at +14.
Ace Lisa Persson, who had recovered from an opening round 81 to post back-to-back rounds of 76 (+3), opened the final round with a triple bogey on No. 1 and finished +5 on the front nine. The 2011 NAIA All-American birdied 10 and 17 on the back to finish the day with a 79 and close out the tournament in 31st place (+20).
Freshman Isabella Baldacci was two-over through her first eight holes before posting a 10 on the par-5 ninth. Like Persson, Baldacci closed out her round with two birdies on the back nine and ended her first national tournament tied for 46th at +25. Gabriela Murcia placed 72nd to round out Shorter’s national championship representatives.
Shorter not only posted a top five national finish, but also outperformed rival Lee University and top-ranked Oklahoma City.
The No. 1 Stars ended the championship in eight place with a total team score of 1243 (+75). Lee, which entered the national tournament ranked No. 2 after edging Shorter for the Southern States Athletic Conference title, placed 11th at 1256 (+88).
Victoria’s Megan Woodland took home medalist honors by finishing even par (292) for the championships. Woodland finished one stroke better than Anna Arrese Cortadellas (+1) of Oklahoma Christian.