PENSACOLA – Redshirt junior Shannon McKew finished the first day of the Argonaut Invitational in a tie for second place, but without question the best shot of the day belonged to sophomore Kolby McWilliams. With McKew carding a pair of 75's, and McWilliams recording a hole-in-one in round two, Florida Southern sat in a tie for ninth place as a team with one round remaining at Marcus Pointe Golf Club.
McWilliams is playing in the tournament as an individual, and as such, her scores will not count toward the team total for Florida Southern. She still became just the third Moccasin to ever make a hole-in-one, doing that on No. 12 from 147 yards. She joins Sarah Coleson, who made one in 2004, and Emily Rymer who did it last year on that short list of Moccasin aces. Coleson hit hers only a few miles away at Stonebrook Country Club in Pace where West Florida hosted the 2004 NCAA Division II South Regional. Rymer made her hole-in-one during last year's Sunshine State Conference Championships at RedTail Golf Club in Sorrento.
McWilliams finished the round with a 79 after shooting an 88 for her first 18 holes of the day. That put her tied for fourth among the 10 players who were competing as individuals.
Strangely enough, McWilliams wasn't the only golfer to make a hole-in-one Monday. Flagler's Mary Rodgers also had one on the 141-yard No. 4 hole in the second round too.
Florida Southern, which is #27 in the latest GolfStat rankings, was one of three teams to finish Monday's first round in a tie for fifth place with scores of 311. Along with #7 Lynn and #9 West Florida, the Moccasins were trailing #2 Rollins by nine shots at that point. The Tars had an opening-round 302, led by Paige Lyle's one-over par 73, and Lexie Toth's 74, which put them two shots ahead of second-place #23 Lee (TN). The Tars were one of three teams which had all four of their counters in the 70's.
Florida Southern was another, with McKew shooting a 75, senior Kit Creighton shooting a 78, and seniors Colleen Panosian and Emma Marlatt each turning in a 79 for the first round. McKew was tied for fifth halfway through the day and overcame three bogeys on her first five holes by playing even-par for the remainder of the round. That included birdies on the par-3 No. 15, the par-5 No. 18, and par-four No. 7. She was one of 10 golfers in the field of 99 to have three or more birdies in the opening round, with four the most for anyone.
At second and third on the Moccasin scoring chart in round one, neither Creighton nor Panosian had anything worse than a bogey on their 36 combined holes. Marlatt had two doubles but partially balanced that with one birdie, and her 79 as the Mocs' fourth counter was two strokes better than the University of Montevallo's fourth counter, with the Mocs sitting just two strokes ahead of the Falcons in the team standings in the first round.
In the second round, Rollins was able to expand its advantage as the Tars out-shot Lee 305-308 to open up a 5-shot lead over the Flames. Top-ranked Florida Tech was in third place, 11 shots behind the Tars, and host West Florida was fourth with a 19-shot deficit. The Tars got another 74 from Toth, which gave her the individual lead at the end of the day with a 148 (+4). That was two strokes better than a group of three golfers that included McKew. Two of Toth's Rollins teammates, Paige Lyle and Hally Leadbetter were three strokes off the pace and trailing by three.
McKew again birdied three holes in the second round, this time 16, 3, and 9. The birdie on 9 was her final hole of the day and moved her within two strokes of Toth at the top of the leaderboard. Only Shorter's Claudia Orrantia had more birdies than McKew on Monday with seven. McKew, Toth, Leadbetter and Lara Ardler of Flagler all had six.
While McKew was the Moccasins' top golfer in both rounds, their second golfer in round two was junior Britta Bernth, who chopped 10 strokes off her first-round score to shoot a 79 in the afternoon. Creighton, who was the Mocs' #2 in the first round was third in the second with an 85, and with Panosian and Marlatt each shooting an 88, the Moccasins had to settle for a 327.
That gave them a total of 638 for the day, tying them with #26 Limestone (SC) and #13 Flagler, and only one shot behind #5 Saint Leo, which was in eighth place. The Moccasins will have to make up 10 shots on Tuesday in order to reach the top-five, a position currently held by #6 Nova Southeastern with a 628.
In addition to McKew in a tie for second with her 150, Creighton is tied for 52nd with a 163, Panosian and Marlatt are tied for 64th with 167's, and Bernth is tied for 72nd with a 168. McWilliams also has a 167, putting her in the same tied position with Panosian and Marlatt.
The final round of the Argonaut Invitational begins Tuesday morning at 8 a.m.