KIAWAH ISLAND, SC – Behind a two-over par 74 from junior Abbey Williams and a 76 from fifth-year senior Shannon McKew and sophomore Tori Higgins, Florida Southern closed out the Barton College Invitational with a 307 that put them in third place out of 17 competing teams.
Playing in their first tournament of the spring, the Moccasins bettered their opening round score by 16 shots on a day where all the teams showed marked improvement. The Mocs stood above all but one of them though with their 307, as only Armstrong State (GA) shot better with a 303. That was enough to give the Pirates the win as they broke a tie with Limestone (SC) to finish five shots ahead of the Saints, 618-623. The Moccasins had a 2-round total of 630, and were followed by Anderson (SC) at 634 and Wingate (NC) at 638.
McKew was the Mocs' best golfer in the tournament overall by tying for third place, but Williams was their best on Sunday and her 74 moved her from a tie for 20th into a tie for seventh. Only four golfers in the field of 86 had a better round Sunday than Williams did, and three of them held the top three positions in the tournament at day's end. Her 74 was also her best round of the season, and it gave Williams her third top-10 finish of the season as well.
The 76 by McKew kept her in the top-five after she held a share of the individual lead after round one with a 75. She fared better than her first-round co-leader, Makalyn Poole of Anderson, who slipped to 12th place after shooting an 80 on Sunday to finish at 11-over par 155. McKew's seven-over par 151 put her three shots behind individual champion Sophie Bargeron of Armstrong State, who had rounds of 76 and 72 to finish at four-over par 148. Hailey Cleary of Limestone was second with a 150 (77-73), and both Kate Hill of Anderson and Ansley Vaughan of Converse (SC) matched McKew with a 151. All of those golfers had been in the top-10 coming into Sunday's action.
Higgins' 76 moved her up 13 spots into a tie for 24th with an overall score of 160. Sophomore Madison Wetzel had an 81 Sunday to finish in a tie for 41st with an overall score of 165, and freshman Amanda Gartrell also had an 81 to end the tournament in a tie for 57th with a 168.
Florida Southern's next tournament will be February 20-21 at Grasslands Golf and Country Club in Lakeland where they will host the 19th annual Lady Moc Classic.