Newton Ready For NCAA East Regional
May 7, 2014
OXFORD, Miss. – Sophomore Ole Miss women’s golfer Abby Newton opens action at the 2014 NCAA East Regional on Thursday (May 8) at Southwood Golf Course in Tallahassee, Fla. The regional runs through Saturday (May 10) and is hosted by Florida State University. The event will be played at Southwood Golf Course, which is a par 72 and 6,257 yards.
Newton is coming off a strong sophomore campaign in which she posted three top 20 finishes and a top 10 finish at the Clover Cup in Mesa, Ariz. The Katy, Texas native led Ole Miss with a 74.73 stroke average and was the Rebels top finisher in six events. Newton is making her second consecutive NCAA Regional appearance and first as an individual this week.
“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to represent Ole Miss at the NCAA Regionals,” said Newton. I’m glad to have finals behind me and I’m ready to compete at the highest level in Florida.”
Newton is one of 378 participants selected for regional competition. Of these players, 126 will advance to the championships finals, which will be held May 20-23 in Tulsa, Okla. Eight teams and two individuals will advance from each regional to the championship finals.
Head coach Michele Drinkard has seen Newton’s game improve throughout the course of the season especially in the area of her short game.
“The most improvement I have seen in Abby’s game this year is definitely her short game and commitment to Aim Point putting,” said Drinkard. “We have introduced her to several shots around the green to help increase her choices. Her distant wedge control into greens has also improved which is a crucial area to scoring on par 5’s. Abby has also improved her Aim Point putting. Coach (Janell) Howland has really worked with her on that and I am seeing her putting with more confidence. Every time she sets up a putt now they look like they can all disappear to the bottom of the cup. ”
Newton enters the NCAA Regional on the heels of a 28th place finish at the 2014 SEC Championships (April 18-20). She led the Rebels throughout the competition and posted a 74 in second round action.
“After SEC Championship Abby and I talked about the Championship and what she needed to improve before the NCAA Regional Tournament and we both agreed it was ball striking,” said Drinkard. “We focused on feeling a tighter swing and reducing the length of her swing naturally from her lower body instead of feeling an artificial stopping point with her shoulders. Getting back this feeling allows her to a swing at a more comfortable tempo, which also allows her to be more aggressive.”
The Southeastern Conference leads the nation in participating teams in this year's NCAA Women's Golf Championships. The SEC has supplied the most entrants in the team field for at least the past seven years (including tying with what was then the PAC-10 Conference with nine schools in 2008). All told, 12 of 14 SEC teams earned Regional bids this spring.
This will be the seventh consecutive year Ole Miss has had representation at the NCAA Regionals and the first time the Rebels will be sending an individual since 2008. For just the second time in the last seven years, the Rebels will be sending an individual and although it’s a little easier logistically, the process remains the same
“Playing as an Individual is a little less hectic than with the team,” said Drinkard. “But I am sure if you asked Abby she would take a little more hectic to have her teammates here too. Time management becomes much easier as an individual, but the process still stays the same. Get a good practice round in to set up strategy, practice the short game shots needed for success and lastly learn and commit to the speed of the greens.”
The NCAA Championship finals will be held in Tulsa, Okla., at the Tulsa Country Club May 20-23.
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