Methodist and Makensie Toole crowned NCAA DIII champions
14 May 2021
by Jordan Perez of

Photo credit: Geoff Henson, Olivet College
Photo credit: Geoff Henson, Olivet College

The Methodist Monarchs returned to their reign of championship glory by capturing their first NCAA Division III Women’s Golf Championship in nine years on Friday at Forest Akers West Golf Course.

Freshman Makensie Toole of George Fox University claimed the individual title with a 3-over score of 291, good for a 14-stroke victory over Alexis Sudjianto of Carnegie Mellon.

The Monarchs began the final round one stroke off the lead held by Carnegie Mellon, but fired a 302 on Friday while CMU slipped out of contention with a closing round of 311.

Juniors Jillian Drinkard and Ingrid Steingrimsen both finished 19-over to tie for third place.

“I had more greens in regulation today, so I gave myself the chances for birdie,” Steingrimsen said. Three birdies decorated her scorecard to help make the push.

Senior Paige Church’s third national championship visit translated into a pivotal last-minute showcase for a 1-over 73 that would assist in overcoming Carnegie Mellon.

All of that hard work would amount to the day’s best-kept secret -- players wouldn’t find out that they were leading for a national championship right after the turn until they finished their individual rounds, as their coaches kept the news mum the entire time.

“None of them knew. We didn’t share any of this information at all because we just wanted them to focus on their own,” said Methodist head coach Tom Inczauskis.

Methodist’s 2021 title is Inczauskis’s fourth in his 12th year as head coach.

“I knew I had a little something special in them,” Inczauskis said. “It didn’t matter who was in the field.”

The No. 2 ranked Monarchs’ mounting championship was built by a dominant spring, where they won five out of six events.

Photo credit: Geoff Henson, Olivet College
George Fox freshman Makensie Toole earned the school’s first individual title in program history.

George Fox’s Toole earned the program’s first-ever individual title in a runaway Friday performance 14 strokes ahead of the rest. She was the only player in the field of 131 players to finish under par, with a deafening 1-under 71 final round score. Toole also dominated in birdies, outdoing the field in collecting 12.

“I think the key to setting up low scoring on this course was having a clear and simple strategy,” Toole said. “The course didn’t play super long, but it definitely rewarded good course management and I felt really great about the game plan we had for each hole.”

The freshman found a good feel for Forest Akers West quickly, compiling scores of 76-70-74-71 for an overall score of 291 in achieving medalist honors. Her commanding lead began in her tournament-best second round and would never let up.

Even with the early lead, Toole cited patience as a major factor in her big win.

“The greens were firm and fast, and so I really just tried to wait for the scoring opportunities to come to me instead of forcing anything,” she said.

The champion’s quick pace and wide scoring margin left behind second-place Alexis Sudjianto of Carnegie Mellon, the only player who came remotely close to Toole but fell short in finishing 17-over overall. Sudjianto’s efforts were a major part of Carnegie Mellon’s lead entering the final round, but strong showings from Drinkard, Steingrimsen and Church assisted Methodist in its return to the top.

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