The ECU women’s golf team is one of 18 teams headed to the Auburn Regional the NCAA Division I Golf Committee announced Wednesday evening live on the Golf Channel.
The Pirates, who earned their 13th at-large bid in the programs 19-year history, were chosen as the No. 14 seed in the Auburn Regional, which will be played at the Saugahatchee Country Club in Opelika, Alabama on May 6-8.
“We feel very fortunate to have received a national at-large bid to the Auburn Regional,” ECU Head Coach Kevin Williams said. “We had total control of things a month ago when we were ranked No. 45 in the country but we stumbled down the stretch. Hopefully this bid will re-energize our team to make a great showing in the NCAA Regionals. It speaks volumes to the consistency of the program to receive an at-large bid 10 of last 12 years and we are very proud of the hard work this team put into making this happen this year.”
Seventy-two teams and 24 individuals were selected to compete in one of four regional championships, each featuring 18 teams and six individuals, May 6-8, to determine the championships field. Regional tournaments are considered preliminary rounds of NCAA championships competition and all national championships policies apply.
From regional competition, 24 teams and 12 individuals will advance to the national championships played May 17-22 at The Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas hosted by the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. The final three days of the championships will be televised live by the Golf Channel.
The Pirates (70-64), in its 19th year of existence, will make their 13th team appearance in the NCAA Regionals dating back to the 2002-03 season, where they garnered a No. 12 seed in the East Regional in Winston-Salem, N.C. finishing tied for 14th. The Pirates were a 15 seed during the 2004-05 campaign in Gainesville, Fla. finishing in 17th.
Former Pirate Adrienne Millican participated in the NCAA Championships as an individual in 2004 placing in a tie for 34th out of 126 golfers, while Lene Krog represented the Pirates at the championships as an individual in 2007 before withdrawing due to an injury after 36 holes.
After claiming its first Conference USA Championship in the spring of 2006, the Pirates earned an automatic bid to the East Regional heading to Greensboro, N.C. as the No. 20 seed and finished tied for 19th. The following year the Pirates returned as a team with a No. 13 ranking in the East Regional where they finished 12th of 24 teams in Athens, Ga.
In 2009, ECU narrowly missed making its first ever NCAA Championship appearance, falling two strokes out of eighth place in Gainesville, Fla. posting a three-day score of 892 (283-313-296), where the Pirates led after the first day of competition.
Back in 2010, the Pirates garnered a 20th seed in the East Regional, which was played in their own back yard at the Ironwood Country Club. ECU finished 12th out of 24 teams shooting a tournament score of 895 (293-305-297).
The Pirates garnered a No. 19 seed in the Central Regional in 2011 where they finished 20th with a tournament score of 945. Three years ago, ECU was tabbed as the No. 19 seed in the Central Regional (Columbus, Ohio) finishing 21st out of 224 teams with a three-day total of 967.
In 2013 ECU extended its streak of consecutive team regionals to six when there were tabbed the No. 17 seed in the East Regional, which was played at the Auburn University Club in Auburn, Ala. The Pirates finished 13th out of 24 teams posting a three-day score of 905 – which was their fourth-lowest NCAA total in school history.
The following season, the Pirates made their seventh consecutive regional appearance with a No. 18 seed in the East Regional (Tallahassee, Fla.) where they posted their sixth top-15. At one point, ECU moved into eighth place on the final day with five holes remaining, but tough windy conditions dropped them to 14th with a school-record NCAA Regional score of 886.
In 2015, Frida Gustafsson Spang became the third player in program history to earn an individual bid to participate in the NCAA Regionals (East Regional) and made her third-straight appearance in postseason play as a member of the Pirate golf team. The Sweden native carded a three-day score of 226 (76-77-73) to finish tied for 35th at 10-over par.
ECU returned to regional play the following year (2016) earning a No. 7 seed in the Baton Rouge Regional where it finished tied for ninth with a tournament score of 904. It was the Pirates second-best finish in postseason play following a ninth-place finish in the 2009 NCAA Regional.
Two years ago, Lisa Petterson earned an individual invitation to participate in the Athens Regional where she posted an 11-over par 227 (79-69-79) taking a share of 50th. The Taby, Sweden native carded a second-round score of 69, which was tied for the second-lowest individual score (not team involved) by a Pirate playing as an individual.
Last season the Pirates garnered a No. 12 seed at the Austin Regional where they were charged with a DNF (Did Not Finish) after they did not have four finishers required to receive a team score during Tuesday’s second round due to an illness that spread through the team Monday night.
The selection to the 2018-19 Austin Regional marks the 17th-straight season where the Pirates will be represented in the NCAA Regional competition.