The Winthrop women's golf team -- especially Jutta Degerman -- couldn't have picked a better time of the season to play some of their best golf of the season.
Degerman and the Lady Eagles head into the upcoming Big South Conference Tournament on a roll. Degerman, a fifth-year senior from Kaunianen, Finland, has finished second in the last two events, while the team has placed fourth at the Shamrock at Tega Cay and second EKU Spring Classic in Richmond, Ky.
The 54-hole conference tournament starts Monday and will be played over the picturesque Patriot Golf Club in Ninety Six.
Degerman's last five rounds have all been in the 70s. She shot 71-79-73 -- 223 at Tega Cay and 73-74 -- 147 at the Arlington Golf Club.
Degerman is looking to become the first Winthrop golfer to win the Big South Conference championship since Janice Roberts bested the field in 1998. As a team, the Lady Eagles swept the first three titles in 1989, 1990 and 1991, but hasn't won it all since.
The Patriot Golf Club layout was designed by Davis Love III and opened in 2004.
• ON THE MEND: Corrective outpatient surgery on his left knee forced track and field coach Ben Paxton to miss this past weekend's meet at Duke, but Paxton, who is in his the 16th year at Winthrop, plans on taking a small contingent of athletes to Knoxville, Tenn., this weekend for the Sea Rays Invitational.
It's only the second time in his tenure at Winthrop that Paxton has missed a meet. The other was 10 years ago when the birth of daughter, Olivia, kept him from the same meet.
Paxton said he'll be taking 12 athletes to Knoxville, including distance runner Matt Elliott and freshman javelin thrower Jared Bailey. The goal is to get each qualified for the NCAA Regionals.
Elliott, who is running outdoor track for the first time in five years, has a time of 3:47.93 in the 1,500. He needs to run .13 seconds faster to qualify. Bailey has thrown the javelin 201 feet, 5 inches. That distance is four inches short of qualifying.
• DECISION TIME: Paxton said he and record-holding hurdler Kandrick Cooper will decide in the next week if the senior from Georgetown will redshirt.
Cooper, who has 7.83 in the indoor 60-meter hurdles and 13.98 in the outdoor 110 meters, has yet to run this season because of a nagging hamstring injury.
Paxton said Copper's chances of getting back on the track are "iffy."
• WELCOME BACK: Men's soccer coach Rich Posipanko is expecting between 65 and 70 former players to be in town Saturday for the annual alumni match.
The match at Eagle Field will run from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and is open to the public at no cost. Festivities for the players begin a 9 a.m., with a golf tournament at the Winthrop Golf Club and conclude with a reception at McHale's Pub on Main Street starting at 5 p.m.
Posipanko's Eagles finished the spring season this past weekend at Manchester Meadows beating Wingate, 2-1, and Belmont-Abbey 2-0. Winthrop and future Big South Conference member Gardner-Webb played to a 1-1 tie.
Winthrop finished the spring season 7-1-1.
• SITTING PRETTY: Softball coach Mark Cooke has to like where the Eagles are after their first two Big South Conference series, both of which were played away from Terry Field.
The Eagles, the No. 1 pick in the preseason league poll, are 5-1 and are atop to BSC standings. They swept an improved Charleston Southern team and took two-of-three from Radford, picked second in the preseason poll, this past weekend.
Winthrop hosts Birmingham-Southern in a three-game league series Saturday and Sunday. Birmingham Southern has dropped out of the Big South, but continued to compete in softball this year.
That will end next year when Gardner-Webb and Presbyterian join the league. The Eagles will entertain Coastal Carolina on April 19-20 before cloing out the regular season at Liberty on April 25-26.
The conference tournament will be played at Terry Field on May 8-10 with the winner getting an automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals.Winthrop's Lisa Kingsmore, the preseason player of the year, leads the BSC in hitting with a .435 averages, while junior first baseman Mallory Hogan's 32 RBI is a league high. Hogan is second in home runs with six.
• WHAT AM I BID?: Tickets for the 17th annual Winthrop Eagle Club scholarship auction are now on sale.
The auction, which raises money for athletic scholarships, will be held May 17 in the Winthrop Coliseum beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Tickets are $50 per person and include a full buffet dinner and an open bar. A table for 10 can be reserved for $500. Order forms can be found on the Winthrop athletic Web site at winthropeagles.com. Print and return the form to Sharen DuBard, director of athletic development and Eagle Club, Winthrop Coliseum, Rock Hill, SC 29733.
• IN THE NET: The final general skills volleyball clinic will be held Sunday at the Winthrop Coliseum.
The clinic runs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and is open to boys and girls in 1st -6th grade. Cost is $25 a session or $40 for both. The clinic will cover all the skills of volleyball including passing, setting, hitting, serving and defense while also giving the opportunity for match play.
For more information, contact assistant coach Shannon Wells at (803) 323-2129 ext. 6612 or at email@example.com.