For the 21st consecutive year, Mission Inn Resort & Club is serving as host for NCAA golf championship competition, with the NCAA Division III Men’s Golf Championship to be played Tuesday through Friday.
Hosted by Oglethorpe University of Atlanta and Central Florida Sports Commission, the field of 215 players will represent 45 colleges in team and individual competition. The 2018 NCAA Women’s Division II Championship will be played at Mission Inn. There were a total of six men’s and women’s collegiate competitions at Mission Inn in 2016.
The reason so many college teams, coaches and players keep coming to Mission Inn Resort & Club – and coming back again – is pretty simple.
“While they’re here, we make them feel like family,” says Joe Lewandowski, PGA, Mission Inn’s head golf professional. “The resort’s location also is a factor. We are set apart from any distractions, which makes it better for the coaches and the teams. And we focus on making them all happy.”
“The teams are all in one place,” Lewandowski added, “the rooms and restaurants are located very close by; it’s very intimate and easy to manage. Plus, the players and coaches have the run of the facility. It works out very well for everyone.”
Of course, it all starts with the resort’s two award-winning golf courses: The must-play El Campeón (The Champion) is one of the oldest 18-hole courses in the South, and celebrates its Centennial this year. An original member of the Florida Historic Golf Trail, El Campeón’s classic design accentuates elevation changes that are unique to the region. The course was named No. 2 in the U.S. based on 2015 GolfAdvisor player surveys.
Las Colinas (The Hills), which opened in 1992, lives up to its name with wide fairways rolling over gentle rises. Its large, undulating greens are surrounded by tropical vegetation, and incorporate large water hazards on many holes. Golf Digest named the course a “Best New Resort Course” when it opened in 1992.
“All the golfers I speak to love the courses, the challenges they present and their differences,” says Lewandowski. “El Campeón isn’t real long, but it is rolling, which is unusual for a Florida golf course. Many of the players, coming from schools up north, are used to this type of terrain and like seeing it here. Las Colinas plays a little longer and offers a different kind of challenge, which is especially good for the college players.”
The 2017 NCAA Men’s Division III competition will be played on both El Campeón and Las Colinas courses. Coming into the championship, Huntingdon College of Montgomery, Ala., is ranked No. 1 in the country, followed by No. 2 University of Texas-Tyler, No. 3 Emory of Atlanta, No. 4 Mary Hardin-Baylor of Belton, Texas and No. 5 Methodist of Fayetteville, N.C. Host Oglethorpe is No. 7.
The top-ranked players in the field include seniors Addison Lambeth of Huntingdon, Logan Lanier of La Grange and Brandon Rougeau of UT-Tyler.