SORRENTO – Teeing off with the first groups of the morning, Florida Southern senior Emily Rymer charged to the lead in the individual standings Sunday morning, and with junior Colleen Panosian among the early leaders too, the Moccasins ended day one of the Sunshine State Conference Championships in fourth place with a score of 303.
Florida Southern played the first round at Red Tail Golf Club with Eckerd and Tampa, and opened up a wide gap over those two schools as the morning progressed and the remaining six teams began play a little bit later. By early afternoon, with the Moccasins already finished for the day, Barry, Saint Leo, and Florida Tech had all fallen behind them as well. That left Florida Southern in fourth place, but the Mocs still had to wait a long time to verify their position.
With only four groups still on the course, a lightning delay halted play for more than an hour before they could finish. Once they did, Nova Southeastern had the lead with a team score of 295, Lynn was second with a 299, and Rollins had fallen to third with a 300. Florida Southern's 303 gave it a 4-stroke cushion over both Barry and Saint Leo, and had the top four teams within eight strokes of each other.
Rymer's score of two-under par 70 is the best ever shot by a Florida Southern golfer at the SSC Tournament. She even did that after bogeying her first two holes but was nearly unstoppable after that. The senior from Orlando ended up with a tournament-high seven birdies, three more than anyone else, and all of them came on her final 14 holes. She hit two-under on two earlier occasions in the round only to bogey the next hole each time, but Rymer bounced back each time as well, and finished with birdies on the par-four Nos. 8 and 9 to finish her round in the lead.
Several other golfers got within one stroke of Rymer off and on during the day, but when the last scorecards were signed, she had a 2-stroke lead over the rest of the field. Lynn's Jessica Bradley and Nova Southeastern's Jamie Freedman were the only other golfers to shoot par in round one, and three others had a 73.
Panosian had to overcome a little bit of a slow start too, but the junior from Smyrna, Georgia was one-over during her final nine holes to finish at four-over par 76 on the day, which was good for a 13th-place tie. With freshman Abbey Williams (Marietta, Ga.) shooting an 86 ahead of her, Panosian was the first counter to wrap up play for the Moccasins, and her strong finish as the fourth player in the lineup had to give them a good feeling about how the rest of the day would go. Only two other #4 players in the tournament had a better score than Panosian, one of them Daniela Ortiz who had a 74 for Nova Southeastern, and the other Samantha Barber, who had a 75 for Lynn.
Florida Southern's other two counters, junior Kit Creighton (Buffalo, N.Y.) and sophomore Britta Bernth (Greenville, Mich.) also upped their game over the second half of round one, which allowed the Moccasins to play those nine holes at five-over as a team. Though neither of them had any birdies during that stretch, between them they parred 14 of their 18 final-nine holes with only one double-bogey. That came on the par-four No. 5, a hole that played as the most difficult on the course Sunday, was one of only two holes where not a single golfer had a birdie the entire day, and only 16 of 45 even made par.
Creighton finished with a 78 putting her in a tie for 25th place, and Bernth had a 79, which has her tied for 30th. Williams is 39th.
The second round gets underway Tuesday morning at 8:15, though Florida Southern will not tee off until the middle time slots, ranging from 9:05 to 9:45 where it will play with Barry and Saint Leo. The SSC Championships conclude on Tuesday at Red Tail Golf Club.