LAKELAND – If head coach Robbie Davis was looking for consistency Monday, he certainly got it and that result has Florida Southern in the middle of what could be a free-for-all heading into Tuesday's final round of the 2016 Lady Moc Classic. Including their "B" team, the Moccasins had eight golfers score between 151 and 156, four of them are in the top-20, and the main Florida Southern squad is one of eight teams within nine strokes of first place.
Rollins has the overall lead with a 2-round total of 602, shooting a 301 in each round. That puts the Tars three shots ahead of Barry which had rounds of 300 and 305 on Monday. Seminole State (FL) and West Florida are tied for third, with scores of 607, and Florida Southern is fifth with a 609, putting the Moccasins seven shots off the pace. They were led by sophomore Abbey Williams and senior Kit Creighton, who had a 151 and 152 respectively.
After that, Armstrong State has a 610, and Flagler and Lynn each have a 611 in one of the tightest races the tournament has had in its 18 years of existence. The Florida Southern "B" team, led by sophomore Kolby McWilliams and freshman Tori Higgins, fared extremely well too on Monday with a 621, which put them in 10th place. McWilliams had a 2-round total of 152, and Higgins had a 153.
Monday's first round saw Barry take a 1-stroke lead over Rollins (300-301) and a 4-stroke lead over three other teams. Florida Southern was in seventh place with a first-round score of 308, putting the Moccasins only eight strokes off the pace set by the Buccaneers. Barry got there behind a 72 from Nicole Ferre and three 76's. Rollins had a 73 from Annie Dulman, followed by scores of 75, 76, and 77.
Ferre was one of two golfers to shoot a 72 in the opening round with Lynn's Jenny Ayala the other. Ferre started her day with back-to-back birdies and made the turn at one-under. She remained there until a bogey on 15 before she parred each of the final three holes. Ayala, who started on No. 4, also had birdies on her first two holes and had four birdies in the round, but she also had a stretch of three straight bogeys on 7, 8, and 9.
Ayala's four birdies tied for the most in the first round, however, and she was joined on that list of four golfers by Florida Southern freshman Madison Wetzel. Starting on No. 3, Wetzel was even through her first 14 holes before she stumbled on 17 and 18 with a pair of double-bogeys. She still finished the round tied with Williams for the Moccasins' top score with a season-best 76. Williams suffered a similar fate too when she played 17 and 18 at four-over, but she also had one of the tournament's three eagles, which she notched on the par-5 No. 4. The two holes that tripped up Wetzel and Williams caused problems for a lot of golfers and played as the most difficult on the course Monday. There were a combined 29 double-bogeys in the first round alone and 16 other scores that were above that.
The Moccasins also got a 77 from senior Colleen Panosian and a 79 from redshirt junior Shannon McKew for their team score of 308. Creighton was just behind them with an 80. The only #5 golfer for any other team in the first round who had a better score than Creighton was Hally Leadbetter of Rollins who shot a 79.
Wetzel wasn't the only Florida Southern freshman with a 76 in the first round either. Higgins, who was playing as a member of the Moccasins' "B" team had that score too, and like Wetzel, it was the best round of her rookie season so far. One shot behind her with a 77 was junior Britta Bernth, while McWilliams had a 78. Freshman Marisa Boccabella had an 81, and fifth-year senior Emma Marlatt had an 89.
As Rollins overtook Barry in the second round with its second 301 of the day, Florida Southern matched that score and got within seven shots of the lead. After Williams and Wetzel had led the Moccasins in the first round, it was all Kit Creighton in the second. The senior from Buffalo, New York matched her career-best round with a 72, including a 34 on the back nine when she really heated up. She was one of only nine golfers in either round who was able to birdie the par-5 No. 18 that created such difficulty for most of the field, and was two-under for her final 13 holes. That put her in a tie for 16th place in the player standings with a 152 (+8).
Williams remained Florida Southern's best golfer of the day with a total score of 151 (+7), which was tied for 13th place. She followed her opening round 76 with a 75. Panosian matched her first-round score with a 77 to give her a 154 (+10), putting her in a tie for 26th. Wetzel is tied for 30th with a 155 (+11) after a 79 in round two, and McKew is tied for 35th with a 156 after shooting a 77 in the afternoon.
With her 78 and 74 on Monday, McWilliams was tied for 16th as the "B" team's top golfer at 152 (+8). Her 74 was the best round of 2-year career to date. Higgins was tied for 20th for the "B" team with a 153 (+9) with rounds of 76 and 77 for her best scores, and Bernth was tied for 35th with a 156 (+12) with rounds of 77 and 79. Boccabella ended the day with a 164, and Marlatt had a 168.
After sharing the first round lead in the field of 94 golfers, Ayala moved one stroke ahead of Ferre (144-145) in the second round by shooting another 72. That puts her in position to possibly become the first player to break par for the entire tournament. Former Lynn golfer Samantha Smolen is the only one so far to shoot even par, doing that in 2014.
Ferre had a 73 and four golfers were three shots behind her with scores of 148. Five more golfers had a 149, including Mary Rodgers of Flagler, who had a second-round 71 for the best single round of the day.
The final round of the Lady Moc Classic gets underway with a shotgun start at Grasslands Golf and Country Club on Tuesday at 8 a.m.