SORRENTO – Day two of the 2015 Sunshine State Conference Championships saw plenty of back-and-forth movement in the team standings, but one thing that didn't change was Emily Rymer's place at the top of the individual standings. Rymer shot an even-par 72 on Monday to widen her personal lead, Kit Creighton had a 75 to move up 11 spots, and Florida Southern got a huge bounce-back performance from freshman Abbey Williams to hold on to fourth place as a team with its second straight 303.
The Moccasins started the day in fourth place, eight shots out of first, and spent most of Monday sliding between third and sixth in a jumble of teams all fighting for position. Lynn was one of those teams too, at one point falling all the way from second to fifth, while Nova Southeastern, Rollins, Saint Leo and Barry were all moving up and down the table too. When everything settled at the end of the round, Rollins had caught Nova to force a tie for first place, Lynn had settled into third, but was only two shots behind the co-leaders, and Florida Southern was back in fourth, but now just three strokes off the pace instead of eight.
Altogether, the top six teams are separated by only eight strokes, creating a wide open race with one round remaining. In the 13 years the SSC Tournament has been three rounds, it's only the second time that two teams share the lead going into the final round.
Although Rymer had the Mocs' best score of the day with her 72, and Williams had a 75, it was Creighton who was their biggest star on the front nine, as she made the turn at three-under. The junior from Buffalo, New York birdied four of her first nine holes, and even with a pair of double-bogeys on the back nine, matched Williams with a 75 for the day. That allowed Creighton to move up 11 spots and into a tie for 14th place individually.
Williams' 75 marked an 11-stroke improvement over her first-round score, and was much more in keeping with her scoring average coming into the tournament. Florida Southern was one of two teams on Monday to have three players at 75 or better, with the other being Saint Leo, which had the best team score of the day at 302.
Florida Southern's fourth counter was junior Colleen Panosian (Smyrna, Ga.), who showed some resiliency again by carding a one-over par 37 on the back nine after a 44 on the front side. The Moccasins had to count the 81, but her +1 over the final nine holes helped keep them three shots ahead of Saint Leo.
Panosian is now tied for 25th place with an overall score of 157, Williams is 33rd with a 161, and sophomore Britta Bernth (Greenville, Mich.), whose 84 wasn't counted on Monday, is 35th with a 163.
Rymer was the last of the Moccasins to tee off Monday but immediately took control of the race once again. The senior from Orlando became the first player in this year's tournament to record an eagle when she needed just three shots on the par-five No. 2. She went on to birdie 9 and 10, and went into her final three holes of the day at two-under for the round but was unable to match her 70 from Sunday when she bogeyed 16 and 18.
Nevertheless, Rymer will carry a 4-stroke lead into Tuesday's finale, the largest advantage any golfer has had at the SSC Championships since it went to three rounds in 2003. Her total score of 142 (-2) is also the second lowest 36-hole score in tournament history.
Rymer's closest competition is Nicole Ferre of Barry, who equaled Rymer's first-round 70 with one of her own in the second round. She got there with birdies on four of her final 10 holes Monday, which enabled her to jump 11 spots in the individual standings. Ferre and Creighton were the only golfers who improved their positions by 10 or more spots.
Halley Leadbetter of Rollins is in third place with a three-over par 147, while Jessica Bradley of Lynn, Fatin Amin of Tampa, and Jamie Freedman of Nova Southeastern are in a 3-way tie for fourth at 149.
Leadbetter's 74 on Monday was the Tars' best score of the second round, but all five Rollins players shot 77 or better to make up a five-stroke deficit, helping them move ahead of Lynn and catch Nova Southeastern. The Sharks had to count an 80 as they gave up the lead over the final three holes.
The final round of the 2015 Sunshine State Conference Championships begins at 8:15 Tuesday morning at Red Tail Golf Club with Florida Southern again teeing off in the 9:05 to 9:45 time slots and playing with Barry and Saint Leo.