By Murray Evans
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 23, 2013) – It’s no secret Oklahoma Christian’s Anna Arrese Cortadellas is one of the best golfers in the National Christian College Athletic Association ranks and she showed why on a windy Wednesday in the final round of the NCCAA Invitational.
Playing steady golf, Arrese Cortadellas fired a 1-over-par 73 – the second-best round among the 51 competitors – and finished third individually while earning All-America honors for the second straight year and leading the Lady Eagles to a third-place national finish at The Hombre Golf Club’s Bad and Good courses.
OC posted the second-best team score of the day, a 308, and finished the three-day tournament at 923, 26 shots behind NCCAA champion Lee (Tenn.) and 13 shots behind Heartland Conference rival Dallas Baptist (Texas). The Lady Eagles made up six shots on DBU – the No. 19-ranked team in NCAA Division II – during the round.
“Today was a tough day,” OC coach Greg Lynn said. “The conditions were hard. It was blowing 20 mph and there’s a lot of water out there. The girls had trouble keeping the ball in the fairway. But overall, the girls really played well. They came out to compete and have a good time. They’re so appreciative of the opportunity to come back here and … play for a national championship. We are blessed.”
Arrese Cortadellas, tied for eighth when the day began, closed her round with a birdie on the par-5 No. 18 to claim third place outright at 8-over 224 for the tournament. She finished 13 shots behind the medalist, Courtney Shelton of Lee.
It was the 21st time in as many collegiate tournaments that Arrese Cortadellas, a junior from Barcelona, Spain, has posted a top-10 finish.
“Anna continues her string,” Lynn said. “It seems that it’s going to go on forever. She just is extremely talented and a great golfer. She’s got a great future in golf.”
Sophomore Audrey Meisch also posted a top-10 finish for OC, closing with a 79 on the 5,836-yard layout to finish seventh at 226, missing All-America honors by one place.
The Lady Eagles also received 78s from a pair of freshmen, India Matthews and Allison Sell, which were quite respectable on a day with the wind blowing 15-20 mph at times and the average score was an 81.7. Another freshman, Dana Todd, overcame a tough front nine (13-over) to post a pair of birdies on the back nine and finish with an 87.
It’s the second straight year the Lady Eagles have finished in the top three at the NCCAA event – they were second in 2012 – and with no seniors on the roster, the program’s future appears bright.
“Audrey continues to get better and better,” Lynn said. “Look for her in the future to not just finish in the top 10, but start winning these things, because she’s going to be that good. The rest of the girls played pretty good, actually. It was tough out there today. Allison played good, Dana had a rough front nine but came back on the back nine and India, same thing. … I think it bodes well for the future of our program.”