SAINT LEO – With sophomore Abbey Williams shooting a 78 for the main varsity team, and freshman Madison Wetzel leading the "B" team with a 75, Florida Southern wrapped up the first day of the Saint Leo Invitational with scores of 325 and 315 respectively.
Williams had a pair of birdies early in the day, and was the only Moccasin who had nothing worse than a bogey throughout the first round. Her 78 puts her in a tie for 24th place on the player leaderboard, and made her one of three Moccasins to shoot in the 70's on Monday, though the other two, Wetzel and senior Colleen Panosian were playing as members of the "B" team.
Florida Southern received a pair of 81's from junior Britta Bernth and freshman Tori Higgins, and an 85 from redshirt junior Shannon McKew for its fourth counter. Senior Kit Creighton had an 87 to complete the scoring for the Moccasins' varsity squad.
Bernth put together a strong back-nine for the Moccasins with a 37, and was one-under for the final six holes. McKew also had a good finish, and collectively the Moccasins were 18 shots better in the second half of the round than the first, momentum they hope to carry into Tuesday. The Mocs ended Monday in 13th place, and will need to make up nine shots on Tuesday to move into the top-10.
The Florida Southern "B" team was in eighth place at the time it finished play earlier in the day, led by Wetzel who fired a three-over par 75 to top her previous best round of the season by eight strokes. Once the remainder of the teams finished, the "B" team was still tied for eighth place with Keiser University (formerly Northwood). They were only four shots out of a top-five position too.
Wetzel dominated the back nine (where the "B" team started play on Monday) with four birdies to make the turn at two-under. Her only bad hole of the day came on the par-4 No. 1 where she had a seven. She rebounded from that, however, to birdie two of her final five holes and sits in a tie for seventh place overall.
The "B" team also got a 78 from Panosian, who was their best golfer during the second half of the round with an even-par 36 for those nine holes. Senior Emma Marlatt had an 80 and her three birdies were second to Wetzel's five for either the main team or the "B" team. Sophomore Kolby McWilliams was the "B" team's fourth counter with an 82, and freshman Marisa Boccabella shot a 93.
Host Saint Leo University leads the tournament with a first-round score of 297, putting the Lions two shots ahead of Lynn, and three ahead of Barry. West Florida is in fourth place with 306, and Flagler is fifth with a 311.
Saint Leo also has the top two golfers in the field of 86, and both Vilde Eriksen and Marie Coors broke par in Monday's opening round. Eriksen had a two-under par 70, and Coors was at one-under par 71. Barry's Gabby Victoria was third with an even-par 72, and two Lynn golfers, Jenny Ayala and Samantha Barber were tied for fourth with 73's.
The final round at Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club begins Tuesday morning at 8:30.