For the University of Miami women’s golf team, one star shined brighter than the rest in 2001-2002.
Sophomore Camilla Hilland, a native of Lommendalen, Norway, and one of Miami’s best golfers her freshman season, led an improved Hurricane squad that recorded several top-10 finishes.
Hilland capped off her year capturing the Ryder Florida Women’s Collegiate Championships in April for her first collegiate tournament win. Hilland’s three-round score of 219 gave her the tournament by one stroke, becoming the first Hurricane to accomplish such a feat since Tracy Kerdyk in 1988.
“This is very special,” Hilland said. “I felt very relaxed coming into the tournament so I thought I would play well. But to win here in front of my family and friends makes it even more special.”
The team, meanwhile, began their season at the Beacon Woods Invitational in Bayonet Point, Fla. After a seventh-place finish there, the Hurricanes went on to participate in three more fall tournaments. Their best result was a sixth-place finish at the Mission Inn Invitational in Leesburg, Fla. Hilland meanwhile quietly put together a string of top-five finishes during that span, the best being the runner-up at the Alabama Capstone. Freshman Tina Miller also made a name of herself, finishing eighth at Mission Inn.
The Hurricanes would pick up their play in the Spring, beginning with a second-place finish at the Lady Moc Classic in Lakeland in March. Hilland continued to post strong results, but Miller was the top golfer during the tournament, finishing third. Sophomore Jazmin Cataldo placed one spot behind Miller.
Miller finished fourth at the Waterlefe Invitational on Mar.19, while the Hurricanes placed seventh. That was the final result before the state championships, in which Hilland regained her old form.
The 22-year old Norwegian fired back-to-back 70’s to take a commanding lead in the tournament heading into the final round. Although bad weather forced her to shoot a 79 on the final day, Hilland sank an 18-foot par put on the final hole that gave her the trophy.
“Camilla had a great tournament,” head golf coach Lela Cannon said. “There are so many great players and so many great teams competing here that to be able to handle the pressure and hold on for the victory is fantastic.”
With the win, Hilland also earned a spot in the NCAA East Regional in Baton Rouge, La., becoming the first Hurricane golfer to qualify since 1998. She finished in 34th place there, firing a three-round total of 223.
Any disappointment Hilland may have felt with her finish, however, was erased a month later when she was named the NCAA Independent Player of the Year. In addition, Hilland and Miller received first-team honors, while Cannon was named Coach of the Year.
With Hilland, Miller, Cataldo and senior Dominique Gagnon returning, the Hurricanes should continue to improve out on the links.