A week ago, Dallas Baptist landed on the top of the NCAA Division II women’s golf coaches poll after receiving 13 first-place votes. Division II opponents clearly know what to expect out of Kenny Trapp’s program. Forty other Division I programs know it now, too.
DBU finished 27 shots better than the next-best team in the Kiawah Island Classic this week, a Division I college tournament notable for its monster-sized field. There are so many teams that it takes two golf courses to play the 54-hole event, which created an interesting wrinkle in DBU’s monumental win.
The Patriots were in second place after 18 holes on Kiawah Island’s Cougar Point course, and blindly took that game to the Oak Point course. DBU had never seen that golf course before, but the team went 11 under and effectively put 18 shots between themselves and the rest of the field that day before finishing it of the next day at Cougar Point. DBU was 1 over for the tournament.
“The girls started well, so I thought that was important with a big lead – to make sure we got off to a good start so it kind of left no doubt that no one had a chance to catch us,” DBU head coach Kenny Trapp said of the final round. “On the back nine, we just stayed with it, just shot to shot.”
Scores: Kiawah Island Classic
The gap is narrowing between the divisions in college golf. A Division II team winning a Division I tournament is not unheard of. Indianapolis, which won the 2015 and 2018 NCAA Division II national titles, did it in October at the Alabama-Birmingham-hosted Hoover Invitational and also won Ball State’s Cardinal Classic in the fall of 2018.
DBU has crossed the threshold between Division I and II in other ways, too. In 2018, now-fifth-year senior Evelyn Arguelles, who transferred to DBU after her freshman season at Baylor, played her way into the U.S. Women’s Open. In 2019, DBU sent then-senior Ann Parmerter to represent the U.S. in the Palmer Cup.
Typically, Trapp will send out a couple of emails each season searching for a Division I start. In 2018, DBU finished 10th in SMU’s Trinity Forest Invitational.
Congratulations to Faith DeLaGarza on earning her second career win at the Kiawah Island Classic, a field of over 200 golfers! pic.twitter.com/WHeWR3WldG
— DBU Golf (@DBU_GOLF) March 3, 2021
Trapp had never brought his players to the Kiawah event, hosted by College of Charleston, because it never fit in the schedule. In October, Trapp and his wife took an anniversary trip to Charleston, which included a drive to check out Kiawah Island.
“I said oh my gosh, what am I doing? Why have I missed this event?” Trapp said. “So I literally emailed (College of Charleston head coach Jamie Futrell) that day.”
There’s nothing to prove by entering D1 events, Trapp notes, except that golf is golf.
“When you tee it up, you don’t get extra shots for being a big-time recruit or being at a D1 or whatever, you still have to get it in the hole,” Trapp said. “As years have gone on, especially in the last five years or so, it’s getting closer and closer. There’s just so many players now, the game has just expanded so much that they don’t have a lot of places to go and people want to win.
“People want to have a chance to win a national title. There’s always going to be, now, the top 5 or 10 in D2 are going to be in that top 100 and a couple of us are top 50 even in that D1 arena.”
What's it like to work with Kenny Trapp and @dbu_golf at one of the best practice facilities in the country? Take a peek behind the curtain in episode 1 of “A Week With Golf.” pic.twitter.com/tKl6MfErBB
— DBU Athletics (@DBUAthletics) October 21, 2020
At Kiawah Island, some of Trapp’s players were competing against the very Division I teams that had recruited them in junior golf. Trapp’s recruiting theory revolves around three things: love golf, love to compete and buy into the DBU culture.
DBU’s recent history in women’s golf is remarkable as much for the recent success as for the whole picture. In 2018-19, DBU won a program-record 10 times, ending the year with a first-round loss in the medal-match play portion of the NCAA Division II Women’s Championship. In 2017, DBU had lost to Barry by a single stroke at the national championship.
DBU has advanced to the national finals each of the past four seasons. Trapp is quick with a reminder that the past few years of success came after DBU struggled to even crack an NCAA Regional field in the team’s first eight years of existence.
Now, victory at Kiawah amounts to DBU’s eighth straight tournament title, dating to the Rollins Legends Invitational in October 2019.
“We have eight girls who are eligible, two who will redshirt and then we have a lot of depth,” Trapp said. “That’s a good thing.”
DBU hardly needed to win this week for validation, but the title was still confidence boosting. Trapp thinks there may have been one other takeaway for his players, too: D2 was the right decision.
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/03/03/college-golf-dallas-baptist-division-ii-kiawah-island-classic/