ORLANDO, FL (November 6, 2006) – Duke University defeated Vanderbilt 3-2 in the finals to capture the 2006 Hooters Women’s Collegiate Match Play Championship Sunday at Eagle Creek Golf Club. The other big winner besides Duke might very well have been the host course.
The Ron Garl-designed track proved to be a very popular host for this annual event. Everyone agreed that it was a perfect "match" for this style of play.
"Eagle Creek was an excellent layout for match play," said Jacqui Concolino, a sophomore at Vanderbilt and an Orlando native. "Perfect venue for our match play championship, with the five par 5s" said Auburn coach Kim Evans. "With the windy conditions, Eagle Creek proved to be a challenging test," said victorious Duke coach Dan Brooks.
Another consensus among the players was the conditioning of the course, especilly the greens which feature Mini Verde grass.
"These are the best Bermuda greens I have ever putted on," said Concolino. "Really really good greens," said LieBelei Lawrence of Vanderbilt. "The condition of the greens made it easier to make birdies," said Roger Yaffe, Executive Director of the National Golf Coaches Association.
And one other popular aspect of Eagle Creek was the bunkering, including the Scottish-like revetted bunkers.
"The bunkers were the most memorable aspect of this course," said Lawrence. "It was rather peculiar to find a Scottish links-style course right in Central Florida," said Duke freshman Alison Whitaker. "It was a very fun course. The pot bunkering was amazing. It was interesting to see girls pitching out away from the hole."
Duke captured the championship for the third time in four years. The remainder of the 16-team field included 2005 Match Play champion Purdue, local favorites Florida and Florida State and other top southeastern schools Georgia, Auburn and South Carolina. It was presented by the National Golf Coaches Association in association with Hooters of America, Inc. and is co-hosted by the Central Florida Sports Commission.
Eagle Creek Golf Club is an 18-hole layout, located minutes from Orlando International Airport. The course is a par 73, featuring five par 5’s and more than 90 bunkers and dramatic bulkheads reminiscent of those found in Scotland and England. Eagle Creek is an Audubon International Silver Signature Course and the first of the Florida golf courses to sport vibrant Mini Verde greens for exceptional play.
"Having this outstanding event here is another testament to the quality of the Eagle Creek golf experience," said Eagle Creek Director Of Golf, Tony Crawford. "We are thrilled and proud to be hosting such an elite tournament field."
Eagle Creek is a favorite among local players, visiting golfers and many tournament planners, having hosted the national finals of the Buick Scramble, the Florida Open, the Golf Channel’s Drive Chip & Putt Junior Challenge, and several Florida State Golf Association competitions. The 7,198-yard design by Ron Garl and Howard Swan has earned many honors in its two years, including being ranked 4 and 1/2 Stars by Golf Digest readers, and being named among the top 10 new courses of the decade in Florida by Travel & Leisure.
The 18th hole at Eagle Creek was re-designed after the initial work had begun on the golf course, turning a beautiful par 4 into a stunning and dramatic par 5. The change gave Eagle Creek the only par-73 layout in Orlando.
The 18th is the definitive risk/reward hole. At 535 yards long, it tempts the player to go for the deep ball off the tee in hopes of reaching the long, narrow putting surface in two. But the drive must carry fairway bunkers on the left, and avoid the water hazard on the right. The green is completely fronted by water, and slopes dramatically from back to front. So whether hitting a third shot after playing it safe, or gambling to reach in two, the approach shot must be struck with great accuracy to assure a two-putt.
"Our 18th always is the talk of the Belfry after rounds," said Crawford. "Along with the beauty of the hole with our clubhouse visible from start to finish, the challenge and excitement it creates is the perfect ending to a great round of golf."
Other awards and honors garnered by Eagle Creek in its first two years include:
â?¢ Top 10 New Florida Courses Of The Decade" by Travel & Leisure Magazine.
â?¢ One of less than 50 courses in Florida to achieve "4.5-star" status in Best Places To Play, by Golf Digest.
â?¢ Belfry named among the "Top 10 19th Holes" by Orlando Magazine.
â?¢ Selected to host the Buick Scramble National Finals.
â?¢ Named host site of the Golf Channel’s Mutual of Omaha Drive, Chip & Putt Junior Challenge.
The Emerson International-owned golf course is "Distinctive Orlando Golf With A European Flair." It is designed to blend unobtrusively with the homes in the master-planned Eagle Creek Golf Community. Homebuyers have the option of choosing from different communities that make up Eagle Creek
For more information about Eagle Creek Golf Club, or to schedule a tee time please call 1-866-EAGLEGC, or visit the club’s at www.eaglecreekgolf.com.
Jamison Golf Group
407-328-0500, ext. 1