George Fox's Kelsey Morrison named National DIII Player of Year
The Yucca Valley, Calif., native claims honor after leading team to fourth straight conference title
After leading all NCAA Division III women golfers in scoring average and winning eight of the 11 regular-season tournaments in which she competed, George Fox University senior Kelsey Morrison was honored as the 2012-13 Ping National Player of the Year by the Women's Golf Coaches Association.
The announcement came as Morrison, a two-time First-Team All-American, led her team at the NCAA championship tournament at the Sandestin Beach and Golf Resort’s Baytowne Course in Miramar Beach, Fla. In addition, Morrison was named to the All-America First Team for the second year in a row, and she and teammate Abby Mann were both named to the All-West Region Team.
Led by Morrison’s second-place individual finish, the Bruins claimed fourth place – 28 shots behind winner Mary Hardin-Baylor – in the 21-team event.
The selection of Morrison as Division III’s top player, which was unanimous by the selection committee, should come as no surprise after she led the nation in stroke average (75.1) and score versus par (+2.89). Her efforts helped the Bruins capture a fourth straight Northwest Conference title and earn a No. 5 ranking in the Golf World / Women's Golf Coaches Association NCAA Division III national poll.
At nationals, Morrison shot a 73 on Tuesday, a 74 on Wednesday, a 77 Thursday and a 76 Friday for a 12-over-par 300 – four strokes behind champion Laura Lindsey of Texas at Tyler.
Individually, Morrison was named the 2012-13 Northwest Conference Player of the Year – the second straight season she captured that honor – and earned a fourth straight spot on the All-NWC First Team. Previously, she was named an All-West Region player each of her first three seasons, was a Second Team All-American in 2011, and was a First-Team All-American while finishing second in National Player of the Year balloting in 2012.
At this year’s Northwest Conference tournament, Morrison captured medalist honors with an 8-over-par 75-77 – 152 to finish eight strokes ahead of runner-up Emily Guthrie of Whitworth, who won last year’s tournament by one shot over Morrison.
Morrison, a journalism major from Yucca Valley, Calif., has plans to play competitively beyond college. She will tee off next at a 2013 U.S. Open women’s sectional qualifier at Waverley Country Club in Portland on Monday, May 20.
“Now’s the time (to pursue a golf career),” Morrison said. “But it takes money – paying a caddy, flights, hotels. It all adds up quickly. But I have a good golf resume, and my name is well known at least in the Oregon golf world. I kind of feel like the underdog, being from Division III, a smaller school, and a small town before that. But I’ve known for a while that golf is something I really wanted to do.”