Welch claims individual title, Red Wolves finish second

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (9/22/09) - The Arkansas State women's golf team finished second and sophomore Jennifer Welch took home medalist honors at the MSU/Payne Stewart Memorial, which wrapped up Tuesday at Rivercut Golf Course.

Welch defeated Breanne Neufeld of Bradley on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff to collect her first career championship.  Welch posted a first-round 72, tied her career-low round with a 71 for the second 18 holes and shot a final-round 76 to card a 219.

Welch, who has now finished among the top 12 players in all three tournaments played this season, became the first ASU golfer to win an individual championship since her teammate Cassie Huffer won the Claud Jacobs Intercollegiate last season.

"I am very proud of Jennifer Welch," said ASU Head Coach Ginger Brown Lemm. "She led the entire event and a few bogey's late in the last round forced a sudden death playoff.  I expected her to win one, and I am thrilled that it was early and she can build off it and win again."

Welch was one of four ASU golfers to finish in the top 25, helping lead the Red Wolves to their top finish at a tournament since winning the ULM/Fred Marx Challenge early in the 2007-08 season.  Arkansas State finished with a combined 912 for their lowest three-round total since at least the 2003-04 season.

The Red Wolves shot a 301 and 306 for the first two rounds, respectively, to lead Missouri State by four strokes entering the final round.  While ASU shot a 305 for the final round, the Bears posted a school-record 290 to overtake the Red Wolves in the final standings with a 901.

"Obviously we wanted the win, but we played steady and are building off a great start," said Brown Lemm.  "You also don't mind placing second to a final round of 290 from Missouri State. They set a program record with that final round. It is really early in the season and it will only get better as we mature as a squad.  We are working off the depth of our fourth and fifth positions, which is mandatory for strong team efforts. We are on a great path."

ASU's opening-round 301 was its second lowest single-round score of the season.  Central Arkansas finished with a combined 916 to round out the top three finishers among the 15-team field.

Joining Welch among the top 25 finishers for the Red Wolves were Huffer, Anna Carling and Adrian Sportsman.  Huffer and Carling both posted a 230 to finish tied for 12th place and Adrian Sportsman shot a 234 to tie for 25th place.

ASU will be back in action Oct. 12-13 when it hosts the Lady Red Wolf Classic at Jonesboro Country Club.

Arkansas State Results

Place, Name (R1-R2-R3--Total)

2, Arkansas State (301-306-305--912)

1, Jennifer Welch (72-71-76--219)

T12, Cassie Huffer (76-80-74--230)

T12, Anna Carling (77-78-75--230)

T25, Adrian Sportsman (76-78-80--234)

T53, Jennifer Loiacano (86-79-80--245)

ASU Sports Information