GCU women’s No.12 golf team sets sights higher in 2011

The Grand Canyon University women’s golf team narrowly missed cracking the Top 10 last season.  The Antelopes finished 12th in the nation and sent its first player ever to the NCAA championships.

But the coming season may find them moving up the ladder, as a strong recruiting class arrives at the west Phoenix campus.

Tiffany Hewetson will be flying in from across the Pond, after winning the British Colleges Sport National Championships at Park Hill Golf Club in Leicester, England.  Her score of 144 over two rounds was better than any other competitor in the field – including the boys.

Hewetson, from Sussex, set a course record in 2008 when she won the South-East Girls Championship and during 2009 added 11 more titles to her resume.

She is one of two freshmen arriving from England, the other being Phoebe Cipa from Essex England, the winner of the 2007 Essex Girls Championship in 2007.

Add to that a local standout from Centennial High School who already has a year of college under her belt.  Brittany Penny was the 5A-II state champion in 2007 at Centennial and is the defending Arizona Women’s Golf Association match-play champion.

Penny is transferring in from Winthrop University in South Carolina, where she earned All-Conference honors and was the unanimous choice for Big South Freshman of the Year.  She is just coming off a 16th place finish out of a field of 105 golfers at the 80th Women’s TRANS National Golf Association Amateur Championship in Nebraska.

The fourth recruit is another transfer, Ashley Mooney.  She has been playing for Daytona State, one of the best junior college programs in the country.  She finished fourth last season at the NJCAA Region VIII Championships.

The talented foursome will help load up a ‘Lopes roster that will still include Georgina Dunn, who qualified last year as a junior for the NCAA D-II Women’s Golf Championship – the only player in GCU history to play in the championships.

Last season, the entire team qualified for the Super Regional in Amarillo, TX – the first time that’s happened in the history of the program.

GCU was ranked 24th in the initial coaches poll as last season began, with the team working its way up to the 12th-place ranking.

“With this class of recruits, I think we can take it even closer to the top,” said the ‘Lopes head coach, Marc Chandonnet.

Sounds like a Top 10 team in the making.