GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- With the return of eight veterans, including four of its top-five scorers from last year's South Atlantic Conference runner-up team, expectations are high for the Tusculum women's golf program in 2017-18. The Pioneers will open their season this Monday and Tuesday (Sep. 25-26) as they host the Bob Dibble Classic at Link Hills Country Club.
It will also be the home debut for Tusculum head coach Adam Buie, who took over the program this summer following the retirement of long-time skipper Bob Dibble.
Back for her senior season is three-time All-South Atlantic Conference first team honoree Ciara Rattana. The Western Springs, Illinois product led the Pioneers for a third straight year with her 77.27 stroke average, which was the third lowest in program history and the best ever by a Tusculum junior. She finished in the top-20 on nine occasions in her 12 events, including seven times in the top-10 and six in the top-five.
Rattana finished third at the SAC Championship with 76-75-75=226 for the second lowest 54-hole score in TC history and earned a spot on the SAC All-Tournament first team. She also became only the third player in program history to qualify for the NCAA Division II Super Regional. She enters her final collegiate campaign with a 78.02 career stroke average, which is second in the TC record book.
Junior Katie Tomassoni is coming off an outstanding year, finishing second on the team with her 77.57 stroke average, which is fourth in Tusculum history and the second-best scoring average by a TC sophomore. In her 11 events, she finished in the top-20 eight times, including five top-10 finishes and three in the top-five. The two-time All-SAC selection won the Etowah Intercollegiate to open last season and carded runner-up honors at the Tusculum Fall Classic and the Wingate Intercollegiate Challenge. The Mason, Ohio native tied for eighth place at the SAC Championship to garner All-Tournament second team laurels. She enters this season with a 78.75 career scoring average, which is the third lowest by a Pioneer golfer.
Junior Cydney Murrell is back after finishing third on the roster with her 80.6 scoring average, improving by over a full stroke from her rookie season. The Maryville, Tennessee native finished in the top-20 four times a year ago, including twice in the top-five. She opened last year with back-to-back fourth place finishes at the Etowah Intercollegiate and the Tusculum Fall Classic. She fired a career-best one-under 71 in the final round of last year's TC Fall Classic. Murrell enters this year with an 81.06 career stroke average which is sixth in TC history.
Kingsport, Tennessee product Taylor White returns for her junior campaign. In her 11 tournaments last year, she finished fifth on the team with an 82.13 scoring average, while logging three finishes in the top-20, including a pair in the top-10. She finished sixth at last year's TC Fall Classic and seventh at the Etowah Intercollegiate. She shot a career-best 73 in the opening round of the SAC Championship and finished 18th for the tournament.
Sophomore Maggie Basile is back after posting an 86.10 stroke average in her 11 events. The Morrisville, North Carolina native finished in the top-50 three times, including a 29th place showing at the Tusculum Fall Classic and 49th at the South Atlantic Conference Championship.
Junior Kelsey Haun finished seventh on the team with her 86.6 stroke average. The Dandridge, Tennessee product recorded a pair of top-30 performances, including 22nd at the Tusculum Fall Classic and 26th at the Etowah Intercollegiate.
Barton, a native of Brevard, North Carolina played her prep career at Brevard High School where she was a three-time All-Conference selection for the Blue Devils.
Butler garnered All-Conference honors every year during her prep career at Edison High School. The Milan, Ohio native garnered medalist honors four times during her career which including a 2016 Division II State Championship. Her sister, Lindsay Butler, played for the Pioneers from 2013-2017 and is in her first season as a graduate assistant for Coach Buie.
Tusculum will kicks off the 2017-18 campaign when they host the Bob Dibble Classic at Link Hills Country Club. Previously called the TC Fall Classic for the last 12 years, the tournament was renamed the Dibble Classic in honor of the former Pioneer head coach who mentored the program for a remarkable 28 seasons. The Tusculum women are the two-time defending champions of the event and have won it four times overall in 2006, 2012, 2015 and 2016.
Tusculum will be at the Myrtle Beach Intercollegiate (Oct. 2-3) in Sunset Beach, North Carolina. The Pioneers played in each of the last 16 years the event has been held (cancelled in 2015). TC finished sixth of 17 teams at last year's tournament. Tusculum best finish at Myrtle Beach cane in 2011 when the Pioneers were runner-ups.
On Oct. 9-10, Tusculum will at the Patsy Rendleman Invitational in Salisbury, North Carolina. TC will be making its 14th straight trip to Catawba's annual fall event. The Pioneers will be the defending champions after posting a two-day score of 613 to capture title in the 15-team field a year ago.
Tusculum will be making its first trip to two new events on the schedule this season. On Oct. 15-17, the Pioneers will be playing in the LeeAnn Noble Memorial and host by North Georgia in Dahlonega.
TC will also be at the Christian Brothers Fall DII Preview event, Oct. 30-31 in Memphis Tennessee. The Pioneers will get a chance to preview the Germantown Country Club layout, host site of the NCAA II Super Regional in the spring.
The Pioneers will open the spring portion of its schedule, Feb. 3-4 at the Kiawah Island Intercollegiate. An event hosted by Tusculum from 2002-2016, was assumed by Barton College who will be hosting the event for a second time this February. The Oak Point Golf Club will serve as host again as TC finished 11th last year.
The Lincoln Memorial Spring Kickoff will be held Feb. 26-27 at the Fleming Island Country Club in Florida.
The Pioneers will be at the Wingate Challenge Mar. 19-20 in Monroe, North Carolina. Tusculum tied for third place honors with a team score of 646.
Tusculum will host the 21st annual Agnes McAmis Memorial Mar. 26-27 at Link Hills. The Pioneers finished fourth at last year's McAmis Memorial and will be vying for its sixth home spring tournament title and first since 2013.
The South Atlantic Conference Championship will be held Apr. 15-17 at The Members Club at Woodcreek in Elgin, South Carolina and hosted by Newberry College. Woodcreek served as the host site for last year's NCAA II Super Regional.
The 2018 NCAA II Super Regional will be held at Germantown Country Club and hosted by Christian Brothers University in Memphis. The NCAA II National Championship will be held in Houston, Texas.