PENSACOLA – Day one of the 2016 NCAA Division II South Super Regional saw sophomore Abbey Williams shoot a six-over par 78, and redshirt junior Shannon McKew card an 80 as they began their quest to reach the D-II National Finals as individual qualifiers.
Playing in separate groups, but starting at the same time on different tees, Williams and McKew were two of the six individuals selected to participate in the South Super Regional this week being hosted by the University of West Florida. In order to advance, the two Moccasins will need to be among the top three golfers who are not members of the three advancing teams.
Of the six golfers playing as individuals, three had scores of 78, with Williams among them. She shot even-par for each of her first three holes before picking up bogeys on three of the next four. She then put together a streak of five straight holes with pars before another 4-hole stretch with three bogeys. Williams ended her round with pars on 17 and 18, making her one of 13 golfers in the field of 66 who shot a 78 on Monday. That tied her for 35th place overall.
McKew started her round on the back nine and was one-over par through her first seven holes. A double-bogey on 17 though dropped her to three-over and she remained at that score until a bogey on No. 2. That was one of only three holes among McKew's first 13 that saw her fall short of par, but her final five included two bogeys and one double to drop her score to 80. She ended the day in a 5-way tie for 58th.
In the team standings, the top four positions were separated by one shot apiece with 5th-ranked Nova Southeastern in first place with a 295, followed by #7 Saint Leo at 296, #1 Rollins at 297, and #3 Florida Tech at 298. #4 Montevallo (AL) was fifth with a 302, and host school #8 West Florida was in sixth place at 305. The South Super Regional features the five highest ranked teams in the country and 10 of the top 15.
With Nova Southeastern, Saint Leo and Rollins occupying the top three spots in the team standings, the top three golfers not on those teams are currently Felicia Leftinger of Florida Tech, and Montevallo's Arin Eddy and Morgan Natale. Leftinger is also the overall tournament leader with a three-under par 69 that included four birdies. She holds a 1-stroke lead over Saint Leo's Margine Arguello. Two others are tied for third place with scores of one-under par 71.
Eddy and Natale had scores of 73 and 74 respectively for the Falcons, leaving Williams four strokes away from the mark needed to advance at this point, and McKew six strokes behind it.
The second round begins Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m. at Marcus Pointe Golf Club, with Williams teeing off at 10:10 on No. 1, and McKew teeing off at the same time on No. 10.