Gartrell Sets the Pace for Florida Southern on Day One of Barry Women’s Invitational

Amanda Gartrell
Amanda Gartrell

MIAMI LAKES, FL – A one-under par 71 by freshman Amanda Gartrell and a 72 by sophomore Tori Higgins in round one helped Florida Southern post its best team score of the season Monday, and Gartrell led the Moccasins again in round two as they finished day one of the Barry Women's Invitational in 10th place.

During Monday's first round at The Senator Course at Don Shula's Resort, Florida Southern and several other schools bounced around between third and tenth place before the Moccasins settled into ninth after 18 holes. The Mocs were led by Gartrell who had one birdie and 17 pars to finish the round at one-under par 71. It was her fifth round of the season at or under par, and three of those have come in the last three tournaments.

Higgins had the highest birdie count for the Moccasins in round one with three and had matched Gartrell with a score of one-under par until she bogeyed two of the final three holes. She still finished the round with a 72 to match her best score of the season.

Florida Southern's third counter in round one was junior Abbey Williams with a 75. Like Gartrell and Higgins, she had nothing worse than a bogey on any of her first 18 holes. Seniors Britta Bernth and Shannon McKew each shot a 79, which gave the Moccasins a team score of 297 (+9). That equals their best round of the season to date, which was accomplished on October 25 at the Nova Southeastern GolfRank Invitational. It's also the third straight tournament in which all five Moccasins shot in the 70s during the opening round.

In addition to the five Moccasins playing as a team, Florida Southern had individual Madison Wetzel in the 70s during round one as well. The sophomore turned in a two-over par 74 that was tied for second among the 17 golfers playing as individuals and her best single round score of the season. Junior Kolby McWilliams was playing as an individual too and shot an 83 in the opening round, a score marred by only one bad hole at the start and one at the end.

Flagler held the lead after one round with a 285 (-3) that tied the tournament scoring record, and put the Saints four shots ahead of host Barry and Lynn who were tied for second at 289. The next seven teams were within six shots of each other, a list topped by fourth-place Rollins with a 292.

Barry's Charlotte Puts and Lynn's Samantha Barber shared the first-round lead with a four-under par 68, and Gartrell was tied for seventh as one of 13 golfers in the field of 92 who were under par in the first round.

In round two, the Moccasins slipped to a 309 and were again led by Gartrell who carded a four-over par 76. She parred 15 of those holes, had two bogeys (back-to-back on five and six) and a double on the par-4 No. 1 hole. McKew and Bernth each had a five-over par 77, and Williams and Higgins each shot a 79, another round in which all five Moccasins were in the 70s. Higgins also had three birdies for the second straight round, giving her six on the day.

McKew was four-over on her first five holes of the second round but just one-over for the final 13. Bernth experienced a similar recovery by shooting four-over for the first six holes and one-over for her final 12. Meanwhile, Williams and Higgins shared the team lead with three birdies in the second round, and both golfers had much better finishes than their score may have indicated. Williams had a seven-hole stretch near the end where she was two-under, and Higgins played the same holes even.

Wetzel turned in another sold round too with a 77 and was two-over until the final two holes, and McWilliams improved her score with an 81 that saw her shoot two-over for one nine-hole stretch that comprised half her round.

Rollins held the lead at the end of the day with a score of 581 (+5), which put the Tars six shots ahead of Lynn and eight ahead of third-place Barry. The Tars got a pair of 71s from Paige Lyle and Selin Timur along with a 73 and 74 in the second round to move up three spots.

Flagler fell three spots into fourth and trailed Rollins by 12 shots at day's end. The Saints had a 72 from their top golfer, Miranda Greene, but counted a 77, 78, and 79 after that. One of those golfers, however, Lara Ardler, was the tournament leader with 10 birdies through the first two rounds.

At the top of the player's leaderboard was Rebecka Holmstrom from Keiser who had rounds of 70 and 72, giving her a two-under par 142 for the day. That moved her one stroke ahead of Puts, one of the first-round co-leaders, who fell from a 68 to a 75 in the second round. Barry's top player on the day was tied with Jenny Ayala for second at one-under par 143, and six golfers were tied for fourth at 144.

Gartrell was tied for 15th with her 147 (+3), and Higgins and Wetzel were tied for 32nd with a 151. Williams was tied for 47th with a 154, and two strokes behind her in a tie for 56th were Bernth and McKew. McWilliams was tied for 76th with a 164.

The final round of the Barry Women's Invitational gets underway Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m.