Pawley’s Island, SC – The Stetson women’s golf team posted its low round of the tournament on Tuesday in the final round of the GolfWeek Program Challenge at the Caledonia Golf & Fish Club.
The Hatters posted a final round score of 290 to secure fourth place in the tournament. The 290 ties for the third lowest round in tournament play for Stetson over the last five years.
“For our first outing of the year, it was a solid performance,” Stetson coach Floyd Kerr said. “The weather was perfect and the course was immaculate and that is a good combination to produce low scores. There were a lot of low scores out there.”
Only tournament champion Campbell, which won the event for a second straight year, produced a round better than the one the Hatters had on Tuesday. The Camel won the tournament by 17 shots over second place Jacksonville State by posting scores of 290-288-284. Their total score of 862 was just two off their winning total from 2012, but the rest of the field improved considerably.
James Madison (883) and Stetson (887) finished third and fourth with Old Dominion (890) rounding out the top five.
In conjunction with the team improvement, the Hatters placed three players in the top 10 in the final standings. Senior Mallory Viera, who finished 28-over par in this tournament last year, improved to five-over par this year, earning a tie for seventh place after Tuesday’s one-under par round of 70.
“Mallory had two really good rounds after an opening round 77,” Kerr said. “She had a good summer and that carried over to the fall.”
Viera’s total was seven shots behind the tournament champion, Tahnia Ravnjak, from Campbell who finished as the only player in the field under par, thanks mostly to Tuesday’s sparkling round of 66. She was even par on the front nine with one birdie and one bogey. She got into trouble on number 12 and had a double bogey, but answered with three straight birdies before closing with three pars.
“She didn’t let the double bother her and came back strong over the next three holes,” Kerr said.
Like Viera, Kutz had a birdie run on the back nine, and had a chance to finish two-under par before a bogey on 18 left her with a 70 for the day. Hoecker was also in contention for a higher finish before posting bogeys on three of the last four holes.
As Kerr predicted on Monday, freshman Giulia Vandenberg finished with her best round on Tuesday. After consecutive rounds in the 80s, and a four-over par start through the first five holes, she closed by shooting a one-over par over the final13 holes to finish with a 76. That was enough to make a five spot move in the final standings, up to 45th.
Senior Sammi Smith continued to struggle in the final round, closing with a second straight 79 to finish tied for 36th overall at 19 over par.
“Hopefully, this will be the kind of day we will have a lot of this year,” Kerr said. “We played a solid round today. We will be playing some different people as we go through the fall schedule because we have good competition on the team. I think we will see some good scores going foward.”
The Hatters will compete in their next fall event the weekend of September 20 in the Daytona State Lady Falcon Invitational. It will be the first of two fall events for Stetson at LPGA International, which serves as one of the teams’ primary practice courses.