DeLand, Fla. - For the fourth year in a row, the Stetson women's golf team claimed victory at its own Holiday Inn Express Hatter Classic, rallying from a six-stroke deficit entering the final round and winning a three-hole playoff over Daytona State at Victoria Hills Golf Club on Tuesday. Three Hatters placed in the top five individually, including sophomore Alexandria Buelow (Palm City, Fla.) and freshman Sammi Smith (Louisville, Ky.), who keyed Stetson's comeback with even par rounds of 72 each.
Buelow placed third overall at two over par and Smith tied for fifth at +9 after her career-low tying round. Junior Lauren Cate (St. Augustine, Fla.) placed between them at seven over par in fourth place, carding a 76 on Tuesday. Freshman Mallory Viera (Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.) contributed a personal tournament-low 74 and ended in a tie for 11th place at +12. Freshman Ryan Ashburn (Largo, Fla.) rounded out the team contingent, struggling to an 89 on the day. Competing individually for the Hatters were seniors Alex Banham (Peterborough, England) and Lauren Eliopoulos (Akron, Ohio) along with freshman Jenna Hoecker (Rochester, N.Y.). Hoecker had an 81 in the final round with Banham carding 86 and Eliopoulos coming in with a 98.
Daytona State's Mitsuki Katahira won yet another individual title, shooting five under par 67 on Tuesday for a -9 overall finish and a nine-stroke win over Jacksonville State's Lucia Fernandez. Buelow grabbed third at +2, two behind Fernandez.
Stetson needed to go three extra holes to continue its home winning streak dating back to 2007; overall the streak is five straight wins at Victoria Hills, counting the 2009 Atlantic Sun Conference Championship. The two-time defending A-Sun champions will also go for the "three-peat" here at Victoria Hills in April. The Hatters and DSC finished at 29 over par overall, one shot better than Jacksonville State. Completing the field this week were Florida Atlantic (+55), McNeese State (+75), FGCU (+81), Bethune-Cookman (+120), USC Upstate (+136) and Lipscomb (+154).
The fall season is now over for the Hatters; the spring portion of the schedule starts March 5 at the SunTrust Gator Invitational in Gainesville, Florida.