WINTER SPRINGS – Receiving a first-round 73 from fifth-year senior Emma Marlatt, and a second-round 73 from redshirt junior Shannon McKew, Florida Southern had two players in the top-20 and the Moccasins' varsity team was in 12th place in the team standings after the first day of the Peggy Kirk Bell Invitational.
The Moccasins counted a trio of 77's in the morning round from freshman Madison Wetzel, senior Kit Creighton and sophomore Abbey Williams, along with a 78 from McKew. But the best score by a Florida Southern golfer in the opening round came from Marlatt who had a one-over par 73 for the Moccasin "B" team. It was Marlatt's best single round score of the season and equaled the best of her career.
With a 76 from junior Britta Berth, an 80 from freshman Marisa Boccabella, and an 81 from freshman Tori Higgins, the "B" team had a 310 in the first round, which was only one stroke behind the main squad's 309. Though it put them 12th and 13th in the team standings, both teams were within eight shots of a top-five position halfway through the day.
Nova Southeastern had the lead at the end of the first round with a 293, which was only one shot better than Florida Tech and West Florida. All four of the Sharks' counters had a 74 or better, while Florida Tech had a 76 among their counters and West Florida had a 75 to account for the difference.
West Florida had one of the early individual leaders too with Paloma Vaccaro opening play with a one-under par 71. Barry's Tilda Larsson had the same score in round one and they shared a 1-stroke lead over five golfers who shot an even-par 72. Marlatt was one stroke behind that group and tied for eighth.
In the second round, McKew was the Mocs' top golfer with a 73, but their only other counter in the 70's was Williams with a 77. Creighton and fellow senior Colleen Panosian each had an 80, while Wetzel slipped to an 81. McKew's 73 and Williams' second straight 77 though helped the Moccasins still finish only one stroke off their morning round with a 310.
Marlatt was again the "B" team's top golfer with a 75, and Higgins added a 78. Bernth and sophomore Kolby McWilliams each had an 81 in the afternoon for the other two counting scores, and Boccabella shot an 83.
Marlatt's total score of four-over par 148 had her in a 6-way tie for seventh on the player leaderboard and only three strokes behind the new tournament leader, Ann Parmeter of Dallas Baptist. Parmeter had rounds of 74 and 71 Monday to end the day at one-over par 145. She was the only golfer in the field of 93 who broke par in the second round, with three others shooting a 72.
Parmeter held a 1-shot lead over Larsson, who had an afternoon round of 75, and four other golfers were two shots off the pace, including two from Seminole State (FL), though the 2015 NJCAA national champions were in fifth place as a team.
McKew was the top golfer for the main Florida Southern team in a tie for 18th place with a total score of 151. Williams was tied for 39th with a 154, Creighton was tied for 52nd with a 157, Wetzel was one shot behind her with a 158, and Panosian had a 161.
Nova Southeastern continued to hold a one-stroke lead over Florida Tech (593-594) after both teams had a 300 in the second round. West Florida fell to third after a 307, putting the Argonauts eight strokes behind the front-running Sharks, and Barry was also eight strokes behind after a 299 that tied the Buccaneers with Seminole State for the best score of round two. No other team was closer to Nova than 10 strokes.
The tournament concludes Tuesday at Tuscawilla Country Club with an 8:15 a.m. shotgun start.