PENSACOLA – Abbey Williams and Shannon McKew both moved up in the standings Tuesday in the second round of the NCAA Division II South Super Regional, and Williams' score of 72 puts the sophomore within striking distance of a trip to the National Tournament with one round remaining at Marcus Pointe Golf Club.
In order for either Williams or McKew to advance, they must be one of the top three golfers who are not members of one of the three advancing teams. At the end of play on Tuesday, the top three teams were 5th-ranked Nova Southeastern, 7th-ranked Saint Leo and top-ranked Rollins, with fourth-place and 8th-ranked West Florida seven shots behind the third-place Tars. None of the other eight teams were closer to the cutoff than 14 shots.
Williams climbed 22 spots Tuesday thanks to her even-par 72 that was tied for the fourth best score of the day in the field of 66 golfers. West Florida's Paloma Vaccaro shot a five-under par 67 for Tuesday's best round, and it moved her up 25 spots following her opening-round 77. Tournament leader Jamie Freedman of Nova Southeastern had a two-under par 70, and Paige Lyle of Rollins shot a one-under par 71. The only other golfer to make par in the second round was Nikita Arjun from Armstrong State.
Vaccaro's 67 ties the South Region Tournament record set by Nova Southeastern's Liliana Cammisa in 2012. More importantly from her perspective, it gives her temporary possession of the first individual spot that would move on to the National Tournament if the Argonauts are unable to make up a 7-shot deficit on Wednesday. Vaccaro is at even-par 144 for the tournament, tying her for second place overall and only one stroke behind Freedman.
The next two advancing positions currently belong to Felicia Leftinger of Florida Tech, who has a two-over par 146, and Elaine Wood of Montevallo, who has a four-over par 148. The next two in line are Arjun with a 149 for Armstrong State, and Williams with a 150 for Florida Southern. Williams' score is the best for any of the six golfers who were initially selected for the NCAA postseason as an individual and it puts her in a tie for 13th place in the standings.
Freedman leads the tournament with a one-under par 143 for Nova Southeastern, and teammate Aldana Foigel is tied with Vaccaro for second with scores of 144. Leftinger, who led after round one, and Saint Leo's Margine Arguello are tied for fourth.
Williams' round included three birdies, the first of which came on the par-five No. 6 hole. She later birdied two par-fours (No. 10 and No. 13) and was two-under before bogeys on 14 and 15. After three straight pars to finish the round, Williams' 72 marked the best score of her college career so far.
McKew moved up eight spots Tuesday with a six-over par 78. Starting on the tenth hole for the second day in a row, the redshirt junior had bogeys on 10 and 14 before embarking on a stretch of seven holes that saw her play even-par. McKew slipped at the end though with four bogeys on her final six holes, but still knocked two strokes off her score from Monday's opening round. Her 2-day total of 158 puts her in 50th place.
The final round of the South Super Regional begins Wednesday morning at 8:30, with Williams and McKew teeing off at 9:20. Williams will begin her day on hole 1, and McKew will begin on hole 10. Williams be playing in the group immediately behind Vaccaro, Leftinger and Wood on No. 1.