SSC Golf Championships Tees Off Sunday

Seniors Taylor Babcock and Simon Forsslund are shooting for SSC Championships Sunday-Tuesday. Photos by Joel Auerbach

DADE CITY, Fla. -- The 2013 Sunshine State Conference Golf Championship is preparing to take the links at Dade City's Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club Sunday, April 14 - Tuesday, April 16. Saint Leo is serving as the host for this year's tournament.

For the first time, the event will be broken into three 18-hole rounds. In past years, the championship consisted of one 36-hole day, followed by an 18-hole final round.

Live scoring for the championship will be available on the Golf Stat website: www.golfstat.com.

As is traditionally the case, the SSC Championship promises to be a competitive event, with a slew of teams ranked among NCAA Division II's best. The latest DII women's golf poll featured seven SSC teams, three of which were ranked among the top five. The men's poll also included seven SSC squads, including four of the top five teams.

In the women's tournament, top-ranked Nova Southeastern will look to win its fourth consecutive conference title. The Sharks reeled off six wins in their first seven tournaments of the 2012-13 season. They claimed the team title at the Yale Intercollegiate, the Guy Harvey Invitational, the Saint Leo Invitational, the Lady Moc Classic, the Peggy Kirk Bell Invitational, and the Bucknell Women's Invitational.

Nationally ranked at No. 2, Lynn will look to win its first league crown. The Fighting Knights have finished in the top five of all eight of their tournaments, posting four wins and three runner-up finishes. Lynn's team victories came at the NCAA Preview, the Kiawah Island Intercollegiate, the Southwest Minnesota State Spring Invitational, and Embry-Riddle's Bash at the Beach. The Knights notched second-place finishes at the Saint Leo Invitational, Lady Moc Classic, and the Peggy Kirk Bell Invitational.

Ranked No. 5 in the latest poll, Rollins has registered five top-five finishes in eight events. The Tars won the Daytona State Invitational and were runner-up at the Guy Harvey Invitational. Rollins was the last team since Nova Southeastern to claim the SSC Championship, winning the event in 2009.

Barry (No. 6), Florida Southern (No. 7), Florida Tech (No. 9) and Saint Leo (No. 15) also appear in the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) Women's Golf Poll.

Sitting just outside the top-five, No. 6 Barry has collected a top-five finish in seven of its eight tournaments. The Buccaneers topped the field at the Flagler Fall Slam and finished second at the Southwest Minnesota State Spring Invitational.

Competition for the SSC men's crown promises to be equally exciting, with four of the top five teams in NCAA Division II teeing off at Lake Jovita.

No. 1 Nova Southeastern will look to win its third consecutive conference championship. Competing in eight events in 2012-13, the Sharks have either won or placed second in seven of them. Their team victories came at the Guy Harvey Invitational, the St. Edward's Invitational, and their last event, the Buccaneer Invitational. A runner-up finish was logged at the Brickyard Championship, the CSU-Monterey Bay Otter Invitational, Rollins' McDonough Cup, and the GCSU Bobcat Invitational.

Ranked No. 2 in the most recent Nike Division II Men's Golf Poll, Barry has also either won or finished runner-up in seven of its nine tournaments. The Buccaneers claimed team victories at the Brickyard Invitational, Florida Southern's Matlock Classic, and the Southeastern Collegiate. The Bucs placed second at the Flagler, Guy Harvey, St. Edward's, and the Buccaneer invitationals.

Holding down the No. 4 spot in the poll, Florida Southern has finished top-five in six of seven events this season. The Moccasins won the Columbus State Cougar Invitational. They were runner-up at the Matlock Classic and Southeastern Collegiate. Florida Southern is the last team since NSU to win the SSC Men's Golf Championship, taking home the trophy in 2010.

Lynn is the fourth SSC team in the poll's top-five, rounding out the ranks in the No. 5 slot. The Fighting Knights have placed in the top five in all six of their events. They have four wins to their credit, finishing atop the leaderboard at the Donald Ross Intercollegiate, Rollins' McDonough Cup, the Saint Leo Invitational, and the GCSU Bobcat Invitational.

Rollins (No. 16), Florida Tech (received votes) and Saint Leo (received votes) also appear in the latest DII men's golf poll.

Admission to the SSC Golf Championship is free. Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club is located at 12900 Lake Jovita Boulevard, Dade City, FL 33525.

Visit sunshinestateconference.com for the latest news and info on Sunshine State Conference Athletics.

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