HOUSTON – Playing her best round of the tournament, and shooting one-under on the back nine, Amanda Gartrell closed out the 2018 NCAA Division II National Women's Golf Championships with a 75 that gave her a 34th-place finish at the four-day event. The sophomore from Lakeland was playing in her first national tournament as an individual qualifier.
After five holes Saturday morning, Gartrell was four-over with double-bogeys on 3 and 5, but she parred the next four holes to make the turn still at +4. She then started the back nine with birdies on 10 and 11, and picked up another birdie on 15. That allowed her to play the second half of the round and the final 13 holes at -1, her best nine-hole score of the tournament. Gartrell parred or birdied 14 of her 18 holes Saturday, resulting in her best round of the tournament as well, a three-over-par 75.
With a four-day total score of 307 (76-79-77-75), Gartrell was tied for sixth among the 12 individual qualifiers with Midwestern State freshman Emily Brennan. She had 10 birdies in the tournament, with three apiece in three different rounds. That tied her for the second among the 17 golfers who were competing from the Sunshine State Conference, one less than SSC Player-of-the-Year Tilda Larsson of Barry, who finished in sixth place with a six-over-par 294 as the league's top performer.
Katharina Keilich of Indianapolis won the individual title with a one-under-par 287 after shooting a final-round 73. The Greyhounds had three of the top four golfers in the tournament and four of the top seven, which allowed them to easily win their second NCAA Division II National Championship in the last four years. Keilich was two strokes ahead of teammate Pilar Echeverria and West Florida individual qualifier Paloma Vaccaro who tied for second at one-over-par 289. Kylie Raines of Indianapolis was fourth, finishing five strokes off the pace.
Indianapolis, which was ranked No. 2 in the country coming into the tournament, was 38 shots ahead of runner-up California Baptist, which was ranked No. 11, and 39 ahead of third-place Dallas Baptist, which was ranked No. 3. Top-ranked Nova Southeastern finished fourth, 42 shots behind Indianapolis, and defending champion Barry, ranked No. 4, ended up in fifth place after starting the day in second, 45 shots off the pace. It's only the second time the national championship was won by a school outside the Sunshine State Conference. The Greyhounds tied the tournament scoring record of +5 (1,157) set by Nova Southeastern in 2011, and it was the largest margin of victory since Nova won the title in 2010 by 40 shots over Rollins.