GREENWOOD, Ind. -- The 2016 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference women's golf season will come to a close this weekend, as the women hit the links on Saturday and Sunday to determine the conference champion. The winner of this weekend's tournament will receive the conference's automatic qualifier into the NCAA Division III Women's Golf Championship held at Bay Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas on May 9-12.
This year's HCAC tournament will be hosted by Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and held at the 5,800 yard par 72 Hulman Links Golf Course in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Hanover enters the tournament as the tree-time defending league champions. The Panthers won the championship by 14 strokes over second place Rose-Hulman last fall. Hanover will look to its two returners from last season's lineup to lead the charge this weekend. Three-time all-conference selection Devan Smith (DePauw, Ind. / North Harrison) enters the tournament with an average 18-hole score of 85.57 strokes. Junior Ellen Wuerch (Fortville, Ind. / Mount Vernon) was also a member of the national team last year and is averaging 87 strokes on the season.
Rose-Hulman will strive to dethrone the Panthers from the top of the HCAC and claim its first conference title. Rose-Hulman's lineup features junior returner Ashton Foushee (Glasgow, Ky. / Glasgow) who received Freshman of the Year honors and All-HCAC honors in her first two seasons with the Fightin' Engineers. Foushee is averaging 84.6 strokes per round on the season. Rose-Hulman's lineup also includes freshmen Rebecca Su (St. Louis, Mo. / Parkway West) and Namuunaa Nadmid (Louisville, Ky. / Dupont Manual), both averaging 83.4 and 84.7 strokes per round respectively.
Earlier this season, six of the nine HCAC squads played in the Rose-Hulman Fall Invitational at Hulman Links. Franklin had the lowest two-day score in the event at 681, followed by Rose-Hulman at 683, Hanover at 691 and Transylvania at 698.
On the season, Transylvania has the lowest team scoring average per round at 336.5. Hanover has averaged 338.2 strokes per round, with Rose-Hulman third in team scoring average at 340.2.
The top eight finishers after the two rounds are complete will earn All-HCAC honors. The top freshman finisher after Sunday's second round will receive the Freshman of the Year award. Action will get underway Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m.