Ford's Colony plays host to CAA women's golf tourney

— William and Mary did not initially adjust as well to the pressure of playing in Williamsburg as coach Ed Teer would have liked, but the Tribe's future looks bright following a sixth-place finish Sunday in the Colonial Athletic Association Women's Golf Championships.

Ford's Colony hosted and Delaware won the event, which was staged in Williamsburg for the first time since 2008 after six consecutive seasons in North Carolina, the last five coming at St. James Plantation Reserve Club in Southport. The CAA selected Ford's Colony, for the first time, on short notice earlier this year in response to North Carolina's controversial House Bill 2, which has been criticized partly because of its provision requiring visitors to schools and government facilities to use the bathroom of the gender that corresponds with their birth certificates.

Delaware shot a 54-hole total of 896 on the par-72 Blue Heron Course to repeat as league champion and claim an automatic NCAA tourney bid by nine shots over second-place College of Charleston. UNC Wilmington junior Lyberty Anderson, a University of Virginia transfer, won individually with an even par-216 to best College of Charleston senior Laura Fuenfstueck, the 2014 champion.

William and Mary shot 931, led by senior Mia Zanghetti (T15, +15). Junior Katie Edelblut (T17, +16) and sophomore Elizabeth Choi (T19, +17) also finished in the top 20.

"(Saturday and Sunday) were much better than our first day," Teer said. "The first day, I think just the pressure of the event — we made it feel different — so we were tight and didn't score as well… I think it's indicative of some of the talent we have and we're only going to get better."

The Tribe, which will lose only Zanghetti to graduation, gained some momentum during the spring when it tied for second out of 22 teams last month in the William and Mary Intercollegiate at Kingsmill Resort before earning a pair of team match play wins at a South Carolina event April 3-4.

Teer said his team seemed to regroup in the spring after a tough fall that the Tribe entered without former star player Alessandra Liu, the reigning league player of the year who graduated and has since gained partial playing status on the Symetra Tour. Liu will return to Williamsburg in May to attempt to qualify for the LPGA Kingsmill Championship after narrowly missing the field last season. So will her former William and Mary teammate, Kellie Edelblut, sister of Katie.

Katie Edelblut led the Tribe in scoring average this season and is one of the reasons Teer has to be "thrilled" for the future. Katie Edelblut and Choi each won individual titles this season and freshman Allison Olberding also showed promise.

"I think if we continue this pattern," Teer said, "we should be competitive in the CAA and battling for a championship."

Coaches hailed the league's parity.

Elon finished ahead of Delaware in Kiawah Island, S.C. in late February, but took seventh at Ford's Colony.

"Any team can come here and have a chance of winning," said 18th-year Elon coach Chris Dockrill. "I think it's very good for women's golf."

Dockrill, Teer and other CAA representatives credited Ford's Colony for the job it did hosting, especially on just a few months of notice.

Whether or not the CAA will return to Ford's Colony may depend in part on whether the league will continue its boycott of neutral site events in North Carolina.

Ford's Colony Director of Golf Mike Krick said the club would like to have it again, along with the men's championship, which had been at St. James the past four seasons, but will be held this week at Salisbury Country Club in Richmond.

Krick thanked the Ford's Colony volunteers and its membership for being "100 percent supportive."

"There's a lot that goes into this behind the scenes," Krick said. "It's a tribute to us as a team that everybody did their part, pulled together, and we all did an excellent job to make it be the success that it's been."

Holtzman can be reached by phone at 757-298-5830.

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