KIAWAH ISLAND, SC – Florida Southern's first tournament of the spring is off to a good start, and the Moccasins are half way home to winning another team title at the Tusculum/Kiawah Island Intercollegiate. With all four counters shooting 77 or better in Saturday's opening round, the Moccasins ended the day with a six-stroke lead over second-place Armstrong State, and were ahead of third-place West Alabama by 10 strokes.
Florida Southern has won this tournament four of the last eight years, including last year when three Moccasins finished in the top seven. They have a chance to do it again with four of the top 12 going into Sunday's final round. Senior Colleen Panosian was the team leader with a 75, sophomore Abbey Williams had a 76, and redshirt junior Shannon McKew and fifth-year senior Emma Marlatt each shot a 77. That added up to a season-best 305 for the Moccasins, and freshman Madison Wetzel also had their best score for a #5 golfer with an 81.
Chasing Florida Southern is Armstrong State, which had all four of its counters in the 70's too, including individual co-leader Pamela Mosley, who shot a one-over par 73. She was tied with Abbey Hartsell of Lenoir-Rhyne (NC), one shot ahead of West Alabama's Jessica Smyth. Mosley' score helped the Pirates register a 311, and her personal 73 was five strokes better than any of her teammates. Smyth had the same margin over the rest of her squad from West Alabama.
Panosian was one of two golfers who had a 75 on Saturday, putting her in a tie for fourth place, with Williams right behind her in sixth. McKew and Marlatt were among the six golfers who turned in a 77 before Armstrong had a pair with 78's.
With Florida Southern (305), Armstrong State (311), and West Alabama (315) holding down the top three positions, no other team was within 10 shots of the lead. Fourth-place Lincoln Memorial had 318, and four schools finished the day with a 324. Florida Southern was the only team from the Sunshine State Conference playing in the 16-team event.
Sunday's final round is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m., though rain and temperatures in the 30's are expected in the morning at Cougar Point Golf Cub.