DWU women, Fitts win GPAC titles

The DWU women's golf team won its fifth straight GPAC title and freshman Lauren Fitts earned GPAC Women's Golfer-of-the-Year honors.

The DWU women's golf team won its fifth straight GPAC title and freshman Lauren Fitts earned GPAC Women's Golfer-of-the-Year honors.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The Dakota Wesleyan University women’s golf team didn’t just win the 2012-13 Great Plains Athletic Conference title this year. It dominated the field en route to the title.

The Tigers claimed their fifth straight conference title Friday, beating out second-place Northwestern College by 71 strokes. DWU has won the women’s golf conference championship each year since the 2008-09 season. With the win, the Tigers earned their 10th straight trip to the NAIA Women’s Golf National Championships in Lincoln, Neb.

Friday also marked the fifth straight year that a DWU women’s golfer claimed the league’s individual crown, as freshman Lauren Fitts beat out teammate Chelsea Burback by eight strokes for the GPAC Women’s Golfer-of-the-Year award. Dani (Bellet) Everson won the individual title the past four seasons.

The Tigers were busy Friday afternoon in Sioux City, playing 36 holes of golf for the third and fourth qualifiers of the season as the third qualifier was snowed out earlier in the month. In the first 18 holes of the day, DWU beat Northwestern by 11 strokes to extend their lead heading into the final 18. The Tigers shot a 339 to beat out the Red Raiders, who shot a 350. Fitts won the third qualifier with an 81, Burback tied for third with an 85 and Jenna Winckler tied for fifth with an 86. Also for DWU, Natalie Turner tied for ninth with an 87 and Talia Peters tied for 15th with an 89.

Dakota Wesleyan continued its hot play in the final round of the day – and the year – with a 327 in the fourth qualifier. Morningside took second with a 345 and Nebraska Wesleyan shot a 353 and took third. Burback and Winckler tied for first with 80s and Fitts tied for third with an 82. Peters took ninth with an 85 and Turner finished 20th with a 90.

The Tigers finished the year with a 1,351 after four rounds of conference qualifiers. Northwestern shot a 1,422 and Morningside was in third with a 1,422. Individually, DWU swept the top three spots and had four golfers in the top nine. Fitts – a freshman from Brookings, S.D. – won with a 325. Burback took second with a 333 and Winckler finished third with a 338. Peters took ninth with a 357 and Turner tied for 17th with a 370.

The 2013 NAIA national championships run May 21-24 at Wilderness Ridge Golf Club in Lincoln and are hosted by Doane College.