Pawley’s Island, SC – After posting a blistering opening round score of 294 on Sunday in the opening round of the GolfWeek Program Challenge, the Stetson women’s golf team slipped back a little on Monday.
The Hatters tied their best round from all last year on Sunday at the Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, but fell back to a 303 on Monday in the second round.
“We had a really good first day, but didn’t play as well today,” Hatters coach Floyd Kerr said. “We really only had one player play well today where we had three on Sunday.”
The Hatters were led by senior Mallory Viera on Monday. She finished with an even par score of 71 despite having a pair of double bogeys in her round. Viera had her first double on the par five second hole, but had battled back to two under par before having another double on the 16th hole.
“The 16th and 18th holes are really tough with a lot of water,” Kerr said. “We hit three balls in the water on 16 alone today.”
Viera bounced back from an opening round score of 77 that included a triple bogey on the second hole. She finished well with birdies on 15 and 17 and then added five more birdies on Monday. Her six-over par total score of 148 is good for a tie for 16th place.
The Hatters are led by another senior, Jenna Hoecker, who slumped to a five-over par 76 on Monday after an opening round score of 70. Hoecker played a clean front side on Monday with nine straight pars, but had four bogeys, plus a double on 16, to go with a birdie on the back.
Her four-over par score of 146 is good enough for a tie for eighth place going into Tuesday’s final round of play. Hoecker is just six shots behind tournament individual leader Ginger Mak of James Madison, who shot a three-under par round of 68 on Monday to take a three-shot overall lead.
Hatters freshman Alessandra Kutz is tied for 22nd entering the final round of play after her second round 77 has her at eight over par for the tournament. Kutz had her troubles on the front nine Monday, posting double bogeys on holes five and seven. She was even par for her opening round on Sunday before a double on 18 left her with a 73.
Senior Sammi Smith struggled to a 79 on Monday with eight bogeys (five on the back), plus a double to go with a pair of birdies. Smith opened with a 74 on Monday that included a double on 16.
Stetson’s other freshman in the field is Giulia Vandenberg. She followed an opening round 83 on Sunday with an 81 on Monday.
“Giulia is going to be a good player for us, but she has struggled here,” Kerr said. “We went out to the range after the round today and worked on a couple of things. I think she will have a better round on Tuesday.”
Defending tournament champion Campbell is again leading the way in the team standings. The Camels are just 10-over par as a team through two rounds of play. James Madison is not letting them run away, however, and enters the final round on Tuesday eight shots back in second place.
Jacksonville State (+20), Old Dominion (+25) and Stetson (+29) round out the top five with Western Carolina (+31) lurking just behind.
“Campbell is really good again this year and is going to be hard to beat,” Kerr said. “If we come out and play well tomorrow, we have a good chance to finish fourth. Getting to third might be a stretch, but we have an outside shot.
“What we need is to have more than just one player have a good score. We know we can go low, we just need to all do it at the same time.”
The Hatters will play with the teams from Old Dominion and Western Carolina in the final round, which will start at 7:30 a.m.
Fans can follow the Hatters on Tuesday via live scoring on Golfstat.com.