Pioneers finish runner-up at SAC Championship in Dibble's finale as women's golf coach

Pioneers finish runner-up at SAC Championship in Dibble's finale as women's golf coach

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Lenoir-Rhyne women's golf team rallied from a three-shot deficit to win the 2017 South Atlantic Conference Championship Tuesday at Link Hills Country Club.

The Bears carded a SAC Championship record 908 to win by three shots over tournament host Tusculum, who led following each of the first two rounds.  The Pioneers, who shot a TC 54-hole record 911, carded a final round 310.  Tusculum accounts for its best showing in the SAC Championship since finishing runner-up in the 2013 event.

Tusculum won the first two SAC Championships in 2000 and 2001 and followed with four runner-up performances in 2007, 2008, 2013 and 2016.

Tuesday was also the final women's golf tournament for Tusculum head coach Bob Dibble, who started the TC women's program 20 seasons ago and will be retiring next month.

Tusculum's Ciara Rattana earned a spot on the SAC All-Tournament first team as she finished third with a three-day score of 226, which is the second-lowest 54-hole tally in school history, just two strokes shy of Emee Herbert's 224 at the 2012 NCAA Super Regional.

Rattana did break one of Herbert's marks as her 76.52 scoring average this year was a new TC single-season mark, surpassing Herbert's 76.71 stroke average during the 2011-2012 campaign.

TC sophomore Katie Tomassoni tied for eighth place with 228, which is the third-lowest 54-hole tally by a Pioneer.  Tomassoni shot a 77 in the final round and drained a birdie on the 18th hole to garner a spot on the SAC All-Tournament second team.

Carson-Newman's Elizabeth England captured tournament medalist honors with her SAC Championship 54-hole record total of 214 (-2), edging out Lenoir-Rhyne's Abbey Hartsell (215, -1) by a single shot.

Lincoln Memorial had the low round of the day with a team score of 300 as the Railsplitters finished with 918 to place third.  Wingate was fourth with 924, while Anderson finished with 927 to round out the top-five.  Coker was sixth with 928, followed by Carson-Newman (929), Queens (932), Catawba (959), Newberry (967) and Mars Hill (1164).

Tusculum sophomore Cydney Murrell finished tied for 15th place with 76-77-78=231 for the fourth-lowest 54-hole tally in program history.  Sophomore Taylor White was fourth with 233 to finish in sole possession of 18th place. 

Senior Taylor Lambertsen carded an 80 in her collegiate finale and tied for 19th place with 73-81-80=234.  Lambertsen ends her Tusculum career with an 82.96 stroke average, which is currently in the top-10 in program history.

Tusculum rookie Maggienella Basile and sophomore Kelsey Haun played as individual competitors.  Basile tied for 51st place with 85-81-92=258, while Haun finished 53rd with 87-87-91=265.

Dibble has led the Tusculum women's program to a school record 21 tournament titles, including three this year.