The girls golf program at Saint Stephen’s has emerged as an annual contender for the state championship. Although the Falcons are still seeking their elusive first FHSAA team title, they have qualified for seven consecutive state championship tournaments and registered four Top-10 finishes, including taking the tenth-place spot in 2018.
In the history of the program, SSES has twice finished as high as No. 2 in the state. Led by two-time prep All-American Oui Nirapathpongporn, the Falcons were runners up in 1999 and Nirapathpongporn won the individual state title. The native of Thailand went on to a storied collegiate career at Duke University, winning the 2002 NCAA Individual Championship. Oui, who played six years on the LPGA Tour before retiring in 2011, also owns Duke career records for top-10 finishes (27), scores on 18 holes (65) and 72 holes (279). She is the only Duke player named first team NGCA All-America in each of her four years and was a member of Atlantic Coast Conference 50th Anniversary Golf Team.
Led by future University of Michigan standout and current Golf Channel personality Chelsea Pezzola, the Falcons also placed second in the state in 2007. Five years later, SSES finished fourth with two-time team MVP and UCLA star Yvonne Zheng leading the way. The program has produced a number of other accomplished collegiate players as well, including Boston College’s Cristina McQuiston and Florida’s Jeanne Cho, who went on to play in 36 LPGA events and coach at Duke University.
LPGA pro and five-time Austrian National Team member Carolin Pineggar is a 2009 Saint Stephen’s alum. Following her time at SSES, Pineggar was an all-conference performer and team captain at the University of Central Florida. In addition to playing on the pro tour, she has also appeared as a cast member on Big Break Myrtle Beach, a popular reality television series on the Golf Channel.
Saint Stephen’s has dominated district and regional play since 2012, winning district crowns in each of the past seven seasons and regional titles in six of the past seven campaigns. The Falcons call the course at The Links at Greenfield Plantation their home and are coached by Letitia Zilar, a veteran LPGA Teaching Pro.