After a three week break from competition, the Stetson women’s golf team will return to action this weekend when they play in the LPGA Xavier Collegiate Invitational.
The tournament will feature 54-holes of golf over three days at the LPGA International Golf Course in Daytona Beach. Play will open with a shotgun start on Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. on the par 72 layout that will play to a total of 6,178 yards.
The Hatters will be joined in the 14-team field by a mixture of Florida teams as well as teams from the north. Besides host Xavier, the other teams in the field are UAB, Bethune-Cookman, Daytona State, Florida Gulf Coast, ULM, McNeese State, Mercer, North Dakota, Northern Kentucky, North Florida, Old Dominion and South Dakota State.
With five Atlantic Sun Conference teams in the field, the event has a chance to take on a tournament within a tournament feel for the Hatters.
“Those are the teams we always want to be able to compete with,” Stetson coach Floyd Kerr said. “We have seen Mercer and North Florida already this year, and having a chance to play against those teams again should tell us how much we have improved.”
Both Mercer and North Florida finished ahead of Stetson in the Eat A Peach Collegiate in the Hatters’ last outing. Mercer, in fact, comes into the tournament ranked 40th in the nation according to GolfStat. The Bears are the only team in the field for this event ranked in the top 50.
Mercer junior Mary Alice Murphy is the top ranked individual player in the field, beginning the weekend ranked 38th according to GolfStat with a season scoring average of 72.80.
The Hatters will be paired with players from McNeese State and North Dakota for the opening round. Stetson will begin play on holes 4-7.
Stetson saw all five of its junior players make improvement during the tournament three weeks ago. That improvement was by as few as five shots up to as many as 17. Kerr said the time off between tournaments has given his players an opportunity to work on specific areas of their game, which should produce more improvement this weekend.
“The thing about having a small squad is that I get to spend more time with each player working on specific areas to improve their play,” Kerr said. “I expect to see some of the things we have been working on translate into fewer bad holes over the course of the weekend.”
Following Friday’s opening round, play will continue with single rounds of play on Saturday and Sunday. Play will begin with a shotgun start both days, at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday and at 8 a.m. on Sunday.