HOWEY IN THE HILLS – Led by fifth-year senior Emma Marlatt's 79 and five birdies from redshirt junior Shannon McKew, Florida Southern again moved up in the team standings on the final day of the University of Cincinnati Bearcats Spring Classic and finished the 3-day mostly Division I tournament in a tie for ninth place.
The Moccasins were able to move ahead of Dartmouth Sunday with their final-round of 322, but Grand Canyon, which had been one shot behind Florida Southern when the day began, had a 321 to pull even with the Mocs. Both teams finished eight shots behind eighth-place Marshall.
The University of Cincinnati was hosting the tournament at the Mission Inn Resort in central Florida and pulled away from Akron Sunday to win the title by 16 shots. The Bearcats and Zips were separated by only three shots when play began Sunday morning but Cincinnati got a one-under par 71 from Tara Liebert, and three other counters in the 70's. Akron's best score was a 75 from Pader Her, and the Zips had two counters in the 80's.
Jacksonville took third place by finishing 18 shots behind Cincinnati, and Georgia Southern was fourth, 22 shots off the pace. Nova Southeastern, which was the only other Division II school in the 17-team tournament beside Florida Southern, completed the top-five and was 23 shots behind the winning Bearcats.
Liebert claimed the medalist position with a decisive 8-stroke victory over Amanda Detmer of Jacksonville and Lanea Scholin of Morehead State. Liebert's 71 was the only under-par or even-par round of the entire tournament, and she also had a 73 on Saturday that was one of only three rounds with that score. Liebert had a 3-round total of 221 (+5), Detmer and Scholin had a 229 (+13), and three other golfers were tied for fourth place with scores of 230 (+14).
Although senior Colleen Panosian was the Mocs' highest finisher with a 239 in a tie for 25th place, the Mocs' best score on Sunday belonged to Marlatt, and her 79 moved her up 18 spots in the final individual standings. Sophomore Abbey Williams was only one stroke behind her in the final round with an 80, Panosian had an 81, and McKew was their fourth counter with an 82. Senior Kit Creighton carded an 86, and freshman Tori Higgins, who was playing as an individual, turned in an 83.
McKew topped the field with her five birdies in the final round, which two more than Liebert from Cincinnati, Her from Akron, and Aldana Foigel of Nova Southeastern had. In fact, those five birdies equaled the most for any golfer in any round of the tournament, tying her with Anna Mikish who had five for Oklahoma City in round one. Mikish still finished as the overall leader with 10, which was three more than anyone else in the field.
Following Panosian's 25th place finish, the Moccasins had Williams in a tie for 42nd with a 244; McKew in a tie for 48th with a 246; Creighton in a tie for 54th with a 247; and Marlatt in a tie for 66th with a 251. Higgins was tied for 77th with a 256.
Florida Southern has one tournament remaining in the regular season and will travel to Pace, Florida for the University of West Florida Argonaut Invitational, April 4-5.