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After all-conference year at St. Francis, Colligan gets to play St. Andrews

| Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 12:42 a.m.
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St. Francis (Pa.) golfer and Kittanning grad Ann Colligan (left) looks back to the camera during her final round of the St. Rule Trophy on Monday, June 3, 2013, on the Old Course at St. Andrews Links in St. Andrews, Scotland. Colligan, a first-team All-NEC selection, was one of two Americans to play in this year's St. Rule Trophy.
St. Francis (Pa.) Athletics
Ann Colligan, a Kittanning graduate, takes a shot for St. Francis (Pa.) during a tournament earlier this season. Colligan was named to the All-Northeast Conference First Team for the first time in her junior year of 2012-13.
Tim Cowie/WinthropPhotos.com
07 October 2012: The Winthrop Eagles host the annual Winthrop Invitational Golf Tournament at Rock Hill Country Club in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Between a top honor and a rare golfing experience, Ann Colligan already has had quite a year.

Colligan, a Kittanning grad who completed her junior season for St. Francis (Pa.) in April, was selected as a first-team all-Northeast Conference player for 2012-13 and began June by competing in the St. Rule Trophy at the St. Andrews Links in Scotland.

The chance to play at the birthplace of golf was a special experience for Colligan, who returned from the U.K. just last week.

Colligan's main reason for traveling was to visit her friend and former St. Francis assistant coach Lisa Warrilow in her home nation of England. But when she got the call to join Warrilow in St. Andrews' top annual women's amateur event, she gladly accepted — even if she was a bit unprepared.

“I was originally on the wait list for the tournament, so I didn't take my clubs with me to England,” Colligan said. “I got the call that I would be able to play about two days before the tournament, so I got together some of my friend's old clubs to play with. Not having my own clubs made it a little interesting.”

Colligan was one of only two Americans to play in this year's St. Rule Trophy, and though she was never in contention at the event — Colligan placed 60th, and Warrilow was 55th — she did finish the 54-hole event with her best round, a 10-over-par 86 on the Old Course.

“That's one I can cross off my list of things I've wanted to do,” Colligan said. “I wasn't taking it nearly as competitively as some of the others out there. I was just happy to be out there in a tournament at St. Andrews.”

Colligan's chance to play in Scotland came less than a month after she was named a first-team all-NEC player.

After being a second-team selection in her freshman and sophomore years, Colligan made the leap to the first team after a junior year in which she won two tournaments: the Cleveland State Invitational on Sept. 24 and the Purple Eagles Invitational at Niagara University on April 8-9. She also finished in the top five at four other tournaments.

“It's nice to finally make that jump from the second team. Looking back, this was my best year as far as my scoring average, and I think the other coaches noticed that,” Colligan said.

“My favorite round was the second round at Cleveland State because I came from behind and shot even par to win the tournament. The good thing about the Niagara tournament was that I won in a playoff, so I have that experience now, too.”

Though Colligan is playing a lighter summer schedule than in past years, she did attempt to qualify for this year's U.S. Women's Open. She also is weighing an attempt to qualify for the U.S. Women's Amateur.

More than anything, Colligan wants to continue working on her game this summer to try and capture a tournament title she will have one more shot to win: the NEC championship.

In three seasons for St. Francis, Colligan has finished second, sixth and fourth in the conference final. This year, a quintuple-bogey 10 during her opening round put Colligan in an early hole, but she finished with rounds of 78, 76 and 78 for a 16-over 232 at the LPGA International Legends Course in Daytona, Fla.

“That's for sure that I want to win (the NEC Championships),” Colligan said. “The first day this year, I was playing really well. I was 2-under, but then I shot a 10, and from there it was kind of a grind. If I cut that 10 in half, things might have turned out differently.”

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mgrubba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.

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