Near perfect playing conditions on Monday led to some low scores and good competition on the first day of the Holiday Inn Express/Hatter Classic and Stetson/CFSC Invitational.
The Stetson women’s golf team, behind the strong play of junior Sammi Smith (Louisville, Ky.), took a first round lead at the Hatter Classic with an opening round score of 308. The Hatters (618), however, will head into Tuesday’s final round three shots behind Daytona State College (615) in their quest for a sixth consecutive title in their home tournament.
McNeese State (622) is just seven shots off the lead with USC Upstate (629) in fourth place.
Smith followed her opening round score of two-under par 70 with a two over par 74 in the second round. She will head into play on Tuesday with a five shot lead over Mary Dawson of Daytona State.
The highlight of the day in the men’s tournament was posted in the second round by Edward Figueroa of Florida Gulf Coast when he scored an ace on the 223-yard par three third hole. Figueroa and the Eagles, who have won three straight Stetson Invitational tournaments, are one shot off the lead going into Tuesday’s final round.
USC Upstate played consistent golf all day on Monday, posting team rounds of 288 and 291. The Spartans (579) will have their hands full on Tuesday, with FGCU (580) just one shot behind with Bethune-Cookman (583) and UCF (586) both also within striking distance.
Adam Goins of USC Upstate has the individual lead in the men’s tournament after rounds of 69 and 72. He has a one shot lead over Leon Fricker (142) of Bethune-Cookman and a two-shot advantage over teammate Ryan Cornfield (143), Ricardo Gouveia (143) of UCF and Matt Cote (143) of FGCU.
The Stetson men did not have a great day on the links, posting team scores of 316 and 310, and stand eighth in the nine-team field going into the final round.
Hatters freshman David Torres (Port St. Lucie, Fla.), who is playing in the event as an individual, is just five shots off the individual lead after posting rounds of 71 and 75 on Monday. Fellow freshman Dustin Dingus (Palm Harbor, Fla.) is two shots further back, tied for 14th, after consecutive rounds of 74 on Monday.
Behind Smith for the Stetson women, the Hatters have three other players in the top 20 going into Tuesday’s play. Junior Claudia Redinger (Durban, South Africa) is tied for 10th after consecutive rounds of 78. Juniors Jenna Hoecker (Rochester, NY) and Ryan Ashburn (Largo, Fla.) are tied for 16th with matching scores of 159. Junior Mallory Viera (Howie-in-the-Hills, Fla.) is tied for 27th with a score of 164.
Both tournaments are scheduled to conclude with single rounds of play on Tuesday. Play is scheduled to begin with a shotgun start at 7:15 a.m. but the weather forecast is calling for a 70 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms throughout the day.