Led by a tremendous performance from Kayla Diaz (‘24), the Drew University women’s golf team won its third Landmark Conference title in team history on Sunday, April 24 at Northwest Golf Course.
After opening with a 333 on Saturday, the Rangers closed the tournament with a 330 on Sunday to finish with a 663 – a school record for 36 holes by one stroke. Leading by 10 strokes following the opening round, they held off a rally from Catholic University to win by four strokes after the Cardinals closed the tournament with conference-record 324.
In the second round on Sunday, Diaz fired a 2-under-par 70, including an incredible 32 on the back-9. She ended the tournament in spectacular fashion, finishing on four consecutive birdies. Her 70 lowered her own school record by two strokes and was the top score by any golfer for the weekend. Diaz, who opened the tournament with a 75, finished with a 145, dropping her own 36-hole school record by three strokes. For her efforts, she was named both the Landmark Conference Golfer of the Year as well as the Rookie of the Year.
The Rangers made it a clean sweep of the major awards, as John Manos was honored as the Coach of the Year. He won the same award after leading the Drew men’s golf team to their first Landmark title last weekend. Diaz becomes Drew’s third Landmark Conference women’s golf medalist, joining Marissa Broderick (C ‘18), and Lucy Lamb (C ’19). She is also the team’s third Landmark Rookie of the Year.
“This weekend was nothing short of amazing,” said Manos. “The girls were so hungry for this tournament all year long. They battled tough down the stretch and showed true grit. I’m so happy for the team.
“Kayla was unbelievable all year long and today was the cherry on top,” said Manos. “She deserves everything that is coming her way.”
Nyah Sanders (‘24) also turned in a career-best showing for the Rangers. After carding an 85 on Saturday, she sliced 10 strokes from her score on Sunday to post a collegiate-low 75 and place third with a 160. By placing in the top-six, she earned a spot on the All-Landmark Conference First Team for the second year in a row. She tied for sixth in 2021.
Cassidy Conklin (‘22) posted Drew’s third-best overall score, carding a 175 (85-90) to place her in a tie for ninth place in her final Landmark Conference Championship. She captured her first all-conference honor, gaining a spot on the second team for placing among the seventh- through 12-place finishers. Natalie Stilo (‘22) rounded out the team scoring, finishing with a 185 (88-97) to come in 17th. Brooke Mercer (‘25) also competed and placed 19th with a 193 (98-95).
With their championship, the Rangers have now captured the Landmark Conference title in three of their five years of existence, having also won it in 2019 and 2020. In the latter season, the championship was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the winner was determined from the results of the Landmark Conference Fall Preview.
By virtue of its conference title, Drew receives an automatic bid to compete in the NCAA Division III Championships, which will be held May 10-13 at Bay Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas. This will be Drew’s second appearance at the NCAA Division III Championships.