Mocs' San Juan clinched at large bid to NCAA Regionals
Chattanooga Mocs senior Monica San Juan is headed to Opelika, Ala., for the 2019 NCAA Auburn Regionals. She one of 384 collegians vying for the NCAA Championship played May 17-22 at the Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark.
But first is regional play May 6-8. Saugahatchee Country Club is one of four regional sites. Each site features 18 teams and six individuals with the other 54 teams and 18 individuals plying their wares at Tumble Creek Golf Club (Cle Elum, Wash.), Forest Akers Golf Course (East Lansing, Mich.) and Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club (Norman, Okla.). The top six teams and three individuals from non-advancing teams advance to Fayetteville.
San Juan captured the 2019 Southern Conference Championship and was just yesterday named to her third All-SoCon squad. This is her first trip to NCAA postseason play but the ninth for the program.
"Coach (Colette Murray) told me it was very possible," San Juan shared after the announcement. "It was a bit of a relief though to see it on the screen. I'm very excited especially with the way I finished (winning conference).
"I think I have a few more good rounds to play."
The Mocs are well versed in postseason activity since Coach Murray’s charges opened play in 2007-08. The team qualified for regionals from 2009 through 2014 advancing to the championships in 2009 just outside Baltimore, Md. Freshman Emma de Groot made the field as an individual that first campaign in 2008, while San Juan’s former teammate Emily McLennan collected a bid in 2016.
Maria Juliana Loza provided Chattanooga with a top 10 finish in the 2011 Central Regionals at Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course. She missed advancing to the finals in a playoff after tying for eighth at 7 over after birdieing the final three holes and four of the last six.
de Groot owns the best individual tally in an NCAA event with 4-over 220 at the 2010 East Regionals in Greenville, N.C. She and Christine Wolf both have top 20s with de Groot tying for 17th in Athens, Ga., in 2008 and Wolf tied for 18th at Notre Dame in 2011. Loza also tied for 19th in 2012 at Penn State.
It’s been quite the journey for San Juan, both this year and for her career. Her current stroke average of 73.94 is the third lowest in school history behind McLennan (73.34, 2016) and Emma de Groot (73.81, 2010). She’s also third in career average at 75.08 also behind de Groot (74.58) and McLennan (74.71). Now she gets to finish it on a grand stage.
"It means a lot," she continued. "I wish I was doing it with my teammates. But I've worked hard for four years, and I'm pleased with the way I played. It means a lot that I get this opportunity to play with the best college players in the country."
Saugahatchee C.C., was built in 1977 by architect Ward Northrup. Northrup constructed courses throughout the world. While mostly based in the southeastern United States (Alabama/Georgia/Florida), there are courses designed in Thailand and Canada as well.
Admission is free for the three-day event.