CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Tusculum College's Emee Herbert defeated Rika Park of the University of Miami to capture the championship title of the 97th annual Women's Southern Amateur Golf Championship.
Herbert, a native of Johns Creek, Ga., went a perfect 5-0 in her five matches this week, including Friday's 3 & 1 win over Park in the final 36-hole match of the championship flight.
Beating out 84 other competitors Herbert and Park would duel it out in the 36-hole final at the Myers Park Country Club. The morning round was a tight battle all the way through and the showdown would be even after 18 holes.
The latter stage of the championship would see some separation. Off the first tee of the next round Park would go one-up on Herbert, by birdieing the hole. Park would remain in front until hole No. 12, where Herbert took advantage of a Park miscue on the green to even out the score.
Holes No.14 and 15 would see Herbert begin to separate herself from Park and take a two-up lead. At No.16 Park hit the fairway, but went bunker-to-bunker to reach the green. However, Park still managed to split the hole and remain 2-down heading into the final two holes.
On No.17 Herbert would drop in a birdie putt that would clinch a 3-and-1 victory over the Miami Hurricane golfer to capture one of the most prestigious amateur golf titles in the country.
Rika Park is a rising sophomore on the Miami golf team where she qualified as an individual competitor at the NCAA Central Regional
Herbert advanced to Friday's championship by winning two matches on Thursday. She opened the day with 3 & 2 win over Kathryn Fowler of the University of Mississippi in the quarterfinal. Herbert followed with a 2 up victory over Maia Schechter of the University of North Carolina in the semifinal round.
Herbert got to the Round of 16 at the Southern Amateur with her 3 & 2 win over Mary Beth Ramsay on Tuesday to start the match play portion of the championship. Herbert carded a 76 on Monday in the qualifying portion of the event to advance to the championship flight. The tournament field began with 86 participants competing to make the top 32 and continue play for the elusive championship. Last year, Calle Nielson of the University of Virginia took home the trophy.
Herbert just completed an outstanding rookie season at Tusculum, where she carded the lowest stroke average in Tusculum single-season history. Her 76.71 scoring average was the second lowest in the South Atlantic Conference this year.
The 2012 SAC Freshman of the Year finished in the top 20 in 10 of her 11 events, including eight top-10 performances and four in the top five. The All-SAC First Team selection finished runner-up at the Anderson Invitational and the Myrtle Beach Intercollegiate. She also finished third at the Flagler Fall Slam and the South Atlantic Conference Championship.
At the NCAA Division II South Regional in Pace, Fla. earlier this month, Herbert finished in sole possession of ninth place with 74-78-72=224 (+8) as she finished one shot out of a playoff for the final individual spot to advance to the NCAA National Championship. Herbert's 54-hole score of 224 is the lowest in school history and the third-best by a South Atlantic Conference golfer.
Herbert is also an outstanding student-athlete as she is majoring in Psychology and is a member of the Tusculum Athletic Director's Honor and the SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll.
- Courtesy Tusculum Media Relations