Daytona Beach, Fla. – Stetson’s duo of dynamic freshmen led the Hatters to a fifth place finish at the LPGA Xavier Invitational with consistent play throughout the three-day tournament at LPGA International.
Giulia Vandenberg earned her first career top 10 finish with a three-round score of 224, earning a tie for eighth place at eight over par for the tournament. Fellow freshman Alessandra Kutz finished two shots behind in 12th place. Vandenberg had rounds of 75-75-74 while Kutz had rounds of 76-75-75.
As a team, the Hatters finished just four shots behind the host team from Xavier for fourth place in the 18-team tournament. Atlantic Sun Conference foe Mercer rallied from five shots back to win the tournament going away. The Bears posted a tournament best round of 292 on Tuesday to win the event by eight shots over second place Daytona State College.
Morehead State, which held the lead after the first two rounds of play, closed with a round of 305 on Tuesday to slip to a tie for second.
Vandenberg produced her consistent play throughout the tournament with two birdies in each round. She was able to birdie a pair of par fives in the first round and then posted birdies on the par 3 15th hole and par 4 18th hole in each of the last two rounds.
Her struggles also came on the same holes throughout the event. She bogeyed the par 4 opening hole, the par 4 fourth hole and the par 4 10th hole in all three rounds. She also struggled on the par 4 sixth hole with double bogeys in both the second and third rounds.
Samford’s Bailey Gray took top individual honors by posting a final round score of 69 to finish at four-under par 212. Her strong last round moved her past Mercer’s Lacey Fears, who finished four shots behind after a final round score of 74. Daytona State’s Tiffany Chan also closed with a 69 to slip into second place, two shots behind Gray.
Kutz earned her 12th place finish by posting a tournament high 42 pars over three rounds. Six of the 10 shots she surrendered to par came on those treacherous par fours.
Behind the two freshmen, senior Mallory Viera finished tied for 24th in the tournament with a final score of 16 over par 232. Senior Claudia Redinger finished in 41st place at 22 over par 238. The third Stetson senior, Sammi Smith, posted scored of 79 and 80 in the first two rounds before withdrawing from the tournament.
Redshirt freshman Zsófia Szurovszki played in her first tournament as an individual and finished 87th with a final score of 49 over par 265.
The Hatters will be back in action next Monday and Tuesday when they play in the JU Classic at Marsh Landing Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach. The team will play a practice round on Sunday before playing 36 competition holes on Monday. The tournament will close with 18 holes on Tuesday.