Story By Barry Kaufman
Sure, when most people think of “that golf tournament on Hilton Head,” they think of the RBC Heritage. But over the last few years, our “other” big golf tournament has seen its profile rise in the golf world to enjoy a place of prominence as one of the top stops in the country.
Now in its ninth year, the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate has become the place to see the next generation of female golfers. Boasting a lineup of the top 17 collegiate teams from around the country, it’s fair to say that when Long Cove Club Director of Golf Bob Patton refers to this as “one of the nation’s premiere women’s intercollegiate golf tournaments,” they have the field to back that up.
“We started nine years ago with just 15 teams and 70 volunteers,” said Tournament Chair Rob Ryan. “Today, we have 17 teams representing 30 countries and over 100 volunteers.”
And these players are not just the best in the collegiate sphere. They are the next generation, with several of the women who have played Long Cove going on to greatness in the LPGA. “It makes you feel like you were a part of their success,” said Ryan. “Some return to see their teams in action, and it is fun to hear their stories and see how much credit they give this competition.”
Beyond the competition, the tournament allows proud South Carolinian Darius Rucker a chance to give back. The Grammy-winning country artist and on-again-off-again frontman for ‘90s icon group Hootie and the Blowfish always kicks off the tournament with a private concert at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. With an invite-only list of players, coaches, sponsors and Long Cove Club residents, this represents an exclusive opportunity for the tournament to hear a great artist perform live.
“I’m such a fan of golf myself, so I love meeting all the players and watching them compete,” Rucker told Local Life in advance of last year’s tournament. “And then the fans are the reason we get to do what we love for a living, so I always appreciate meeting them. Their excitement is contagious.”
Hosting such talented young players as well as a bona fide musical celebrity is a huge feather in the cap for Long Cove Club as well.
“The members look forward to this event as much as the teams do,” said Ryan. “We have been told this is their favorite and they help us to showcase our famous course and energetic membership. Attendance has increased every year and it gives us pleasure to host such a premier tournament.”
BE A SPECTATOR
Tee times for the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate begin at 8:30 a.m. Friday, March 6, and Saturday, March 7, and 8 a.m. Sunday, March 8. Spectators are welcome during the day of play. For more information, visit longcoveclub.com.
Darius Rucker Intercollegiate Alumni on the LPGA Tour
This annual tournament has drawn the top talent from women’s college golf, serving as a springboard toward the LPGA. There are currently 28 alumni on the tour:
1. Marina Alex – Vanderbilt
2. Brittany Altomare – Virginia
3. Laetitia Beck – Duke
4. Celine Boutier – Duke
5. Katie Burnett – South Carolina
6. Jacqui Concolino – Vanderbilt
7. Lauren Coughlin – Virginia
8. Katelyn Dambaugh – South Carolina
9. Mari Fassi – Arkansas
10. Kristen Gillman – Alabama
11. Jiwon Jeon – Alabama
12. Cheyenne Knight – Alabama
13. Jennifer Kupcho – Wake Forest
14. Bronte Law – UCLA
15. Alison Lee – UCLA
16. Yu Liu – Duke
17. Gaby Lopez – Arkansas
18. Ally McDonald – Mississippi State
19. Stephanie Meadow – Alabama
20. Madelene Sagstrom – LSU
21. Mia Schecter – North Carolina
22. Sarah Schmelzel – South Carolina
23. Maria Stackhouse – Standford
24. Lauren Stephenson – Alabama
25. Emma Talley – Alabama
26. Anne-Catherine Tanguay – Oklahoma
27. Emily Tubert – Arkansas
28. Alana Uriell – Arkansas