KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – Florida Southern got an opening-round 71 from senior Emily Rymer, and a 72 from junior Kit Creighton, but it was a crucial 78 from freshman Abbey Williams Florida Southern that enabled the Moccasins to grab the lead after the first round of the Kiawah Island Intercollegiate. Saturday's round marked the start of the spring portion of the schedule for the Moccasins in the 13th annual tournament hosted by Tusculum College.
The Moccasins got off to a strong start with a 297, their best single-round score of 2014-15 season, 11 strokes better than the score they ended the fall with at Saint Leo. In addition to the 70 from Rymer (Orlando, Fla.) and the 72 from Creighton (Buffalo, N.Y.), the Mocs also counted a 76 from redshirt junior Emma Marlatt (Chapel Hill, N.C.) and a 78 from Williams (Marietta, Ga.). Redshirt sophomore Shannon McKew (Cockeysville, Md.) added a season-best 81, which enabled all five Moccasins to finish the first round in the top half of the 79-player field.
Even with the 297, Florida Southern was only one stroke ahead of second-place Limestone (SC) and two ahead of third-place Northwood (FL). After that, the team standings opened up a bit with Montevallo (AL) in fourth place with a 305, eight shots behind the Moccasins, and Armstrong State in fifth with a 308. None of the other 10 teams were closer than 18 shots.
Holding the individual lead was Northwood's Elsa Westin, who shot a two-under par 70, which put her one stroke ahead of Rymer and two golfers from Limestone, Hannah Luckett and Brittany LaPadula. Creighton was of three golfers tied for fifth with a 72. The Moccasins also had Marlatt in 11th place, tied with yet another Limestone golfer for that position.
Where the Moccasins took the lead on Saturday was with their #4 golfer, Abbey Williams. Her 78 was two strokes better than Limestone's #4, accounting for the Mocs' one-stroke advantage in the team standings.
The final round of the Tusculum/Kiawah Island Intercollegiate is Sunday at Cougar Point Golf Club.