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Gartrell and Wetzel Break Par in Final Round of Barry Invitational, Lifting Moccasins to Eighth-Place Finish

Amanda Gartrell
Amanda Gartrell

MIAMI LAKES, FL – Junior Amanda Gartrell and senior Madi Wetzel had final-round scores of one-under-par 71, leading No. 13 Florida Southern to one of the best team scores of the day as the Moccasins finished in eighth place at the Barry University Invitational. Host school Barry, ranked No. 2 in the country, won its own tournament by nine shots over No. 10 Florida Tech.

The top eight teams in the tournament were under 300 in all three rounds, and Florida Southern's 292 on Tuesday was the third lowest score of the day. Only Barry with a 287 and Lynn with a 286 were better than the Moccasins. It also marked the second year in a row Florida Southern posted three sub-300 rounds at the Barry Invitational, which has been played at Shula's Golf Club. The Mocs were one of two teams to accomplish that last year.

Barry, which had the lead after round one but fell behind Florida Tech in round two, re-gained the lead on Tuesday by counting four scores of 73 or better. Florida Tech's best counter on Tuesday was a 73. The Buccaneers finished at -2 for the tournament and the Panthers were at +7. Arkansas Tech, which is ranked No. 6, remained in third place with a +11, and No. 8 Lynn moved up to fourth at +15. Tying for fifth place were No. 3 Nova Southeastern and NAIA No. 1 Keiser at +19, and co-No. 8 Rollins was seventh at +23, just three shots ahead of Florida Southern.

The Moccasins finished ahead of several other ranked teams in the tournament with No. 11 Grand Valley State and No. 21 Tampa tying for ninth, No. 24 Flagler in 11th, No. 4 and defending national champion Indianapolis 12th, No. 14 Limestone in 13th, and No. 19 Southwestern Oklahoma State 15th.

Gartrell's score dropped in each round of the tournament, from a 75 to a 74 to Tuesday's 71. She was one of only three golfers in the field of 90 that did not have a single bogey in the round with the others being individual champion Josefina Foa Torres of Barry and fifth-place finisher Matilda Wahren of Lynn. There were only five such rounds in the entire tournament. Gartrell started the day on the par-4 No. 8, parred her first eight holes, birdied the par-5 No. 16, and then parred nine more holes after that. That gave her a total score of 220 (+4) and tied for 19th place.

Wetzel matched Gartrell with a final-round 71 and dominated the front nine of the Senator Course, which she mostly played the second half of the day. Starting the round on No. 9 with a birdie, Wetzel made the turn from 18 to 1 with a bogey that put her at +1, but she birdied two holes after that and did not have another bogey the rest of the day. With birdies on 4, 8, and 9, Wetzel was three-under for the front side and had a team-high four birdies in the round. She tied for 34th overall with a 225 (+9).

Falling in between Gartrell and Wetzel in the final standings was freshman Loren Perez, who shot a two-over-par 74 Tuesday to finish tied for 23rd with a total score of 221 (+5). Perez started Tuesday with a birdie on No. 7 and was at even par through her first 12 holes before two late bogeys left her at +2. She was still the only Moccasin with a 74 or better in all three rounds.

Senior Tori Higgins tied for 34th with a 226 (+10), but her 78 on Tuesday was not used for the team score. Sophomore Shelby Lewis' score of 76 was counted and she spent most of the day within one stroke of par. Lewis tied for 66th overall with a 233 (+17).

Torres' winning score of nine-under-par 207 was the lowest in the tournament's eight-year history, and runner-up Pilar Echeverria had the second-lowest score at seven-under-par 209. Tampa's Kiira Riihijarvi and Florida Tech's Lucy Eaton tied for third at four-under-par 212.

Florida Southern's next tournament is April 1-2 in Navarre, Florida at the Argonaut Invitational hosted by the University of West Florida.