HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. – After three days of the 2018 NCAA Division III National Championship, the No. 2 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's golf team is leading the field of 25 teams by four strokes, with a three-day total of 944 strokes (+68). Playing at the par-73, 5,804-yard El Campeon Golf Course at Mission Inn Resort, the Athenas currently hold a four-stroke lead over the second-place, No. 4 Williams Ephs heading to the final round.
The Athenas tee off with second-place Williams (948, +72) and third-place George Fox (952, +76) starting at 9:10 a.m. ET/6:10 a.m. PT in search of their first National Championship in women's golf program history.
The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas hung tough on Day Three of the NCAA Division III Women's Golf National Championships. CMS posted a 24-over, 316 on the Day to remain in the lead heading into the final round. The Athenas (944, +68) lead the tournament by four strokes over the Williams Ephs (948, +72) with 18 holes to play.
In the individual standings, Margaret Loncki (CMC) leads the 130-player field by three strokes after posting the low-score of the day with a one-under, 72. Loncki is five-over for the Tournament and is followed by NYU's Navika Kuchakulla (+8) in second-place.
It was an interesting day for the Athenas. CMS started the third round with a five-shot lead, but a tough start to the day had every Athena at least two-over through three holes. As a result, CMS dropped into second place and bumped Williams into first momentarily. The Athenas quickly regained their composure, thanks in large part to strong play from Loncki and Emily Attiyeh (CMC). The duo combined for seven birdies on the final six holes of the front nine and CMS regained the lead before making the turn. In addition to the birdies from Loncki and Attiyeh, Kelly Ransom (CMC) made an eagle on the par-four, ninth hole. Ransom's eagle is just the third in the field this week.
CMS' lead hovered between two and seven strokes throughout the day, eventually landing at four when the sunset on Thursday. The Athenas will be last off the tee along with the Williams Ephs and George Fox Bruins in the final round on Friday. George Fox turned in the lowest round of the tournament on Thursday with a 13-over, 305 to pull within striking distance of the Athenas heading into the final round.
Individually, Loncki leads the Championships at five-over through three rounds. The Athenas All-American senior shot a tournament-low, 71 (-1) on Thursday to separate herself from the field and take a three-stroke lead over NYU's Navika Kuchakulla (+8). For the second day in a row, Loncki put six red numbers on the card with birdies at the fourth, sixth, seventh, ninth, 12th, and 15th holes. Through three rounds, Loncki has struggled on holes one through five, playing them at 13-over par. The other 13 holes on the track have been a completely different story. Her 14 birdies on the final 13 holes have led her to an eight-under mark on holes six through 18.
Emily Attiyeh and Mira Yoo (CMC) both turned in rounds of eight-over, 81 on Thursday for the second and third best rounds of the day for CMS. Attiyeh made three birdies on the front nine and went out in 37 (+1), but carded a seven-over, 44 on the back. Yoo was a little more consistent throughout her round, shooting a 40 (+4) on the way out and came home with a four-over, 41 on the back.
Kelly Ransom finished the day just a stroke behind Attiyeh and Yoo with a nine-over, 82. As mentioned, Ransom put an eagle on the card on the ninth hole, but it was sandwiched between a triple bogey and a double. Despite the roller-coaster in the middle of the round, Ransom had two separate stretches of four-straight pars.
Emma Kang (CMC) rounded out the Athenas' effort on the day with a 12-over, 85.
Following Thursday's third round, the stage is set for the final day at the National Championships. The Athenas, and their four-stroke lead, will tee off on Friday morning starting at 9:10 a.m. ET/6:10 a.m. PT in search of their first National Championship in program history.