Gartrell and Williams Pace the Mocs on Day One of GolfRank Invitational

Abbey Williams
Abbey Williams

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL – With Amanda Gartrell shooting a team-best 73 in round one, and Abbey Williams joining her in the top-20 overall at the end of the day, Florida Southern wrapped up the first two rounds of Nova Southeastern's GolfRank Invitational in ninth place.

In Monday morning's opening round, the Moccasins were led by Gartrell's one-over par 73, and Williams' 75. Gartrell had a pair of birdies and three bogeys, while Williams had a team-high three birdies. Gartrell was especially efficient on the par-5s, where she made both of hers, and at no point during round one did her score ever move above +2. When it did, she ended the round with a birdie on her final hole (No. 1) to close with the 73.

Florida Southern's third counter was Madison Wetzel with a 77, while Tori Higgins and Victoria Cangero each shot an 81, giving the Mocs a team score of 306. That was good for seventh halfway through the day, as the top nine teams were within nine shots of each other at that point. Rollins held the lead with a 298, with Lynn, Saint Leo and Tampa all tied for second with scores of 301, and West Florida fifth with a 304.

The individual standings halfway through the day had Gartrell tied for fifth and Williams just outside the top-10, putting her among a large group of golfers tied for 11th. West Florida's Paloma Vaccaro was out in front with a four-under par 68, three shots better than Amanda Jakobsson of Saint Leo and Heather Kipniss of Tampa. Vaccaro, however, was the only Argonaut with a score better than 77, though it was enough to keep her team in fifth place at the end of round one.

Though Gartrell and Williams were Florida Southern's top two golfers at the end of the day, neither of them had the Moccasins' best score in round two. That belonged to Cangero, who turned in a 76, who was at +2 before a double bogey on her final hole, though she still had three birdies in the round. Wetzel also picked up three birdies and had the Mocs' best finish of the afternoon by playing even-par for the final six holes, giving her a 78.

Gartrell and Williams each shot a 77 in the second round to complete the scoring for Florida Southern, which had a 308. Tori Higgins, who won the GolfRank Invitational last year, shot an 81 in each round Monday, with her scores not counted.

The 308 dropped Florida Southern from seventh to ninth, though at 614 overall the Moccasins were still only three shots out of seventh, and seven away from the top-five. Rollins continued to lead with a 594 (+18), with the Tars holding a five-shot lead over Lynn, and a 10-shot lead over third-place Saint Leo. Barry was 12 shots back in fourth place and Nova Southeastern was 13 back in fifth place.

Just as Rollins did in the team standings, Vaccaro remained in the top spot on the individual leader board with a six-under par 138. That gave her a commanding eight-stroke lead over the rest of the field.

Gartrell was tied for 13th with a 150 (+6), and Williams was tied for 18th with a 152 (+8). Wetzel was tied for 36th with a 155, Cangero was tied for 40th with a 157, and Higgins was tied for 57th with a 162.

Florida Southern also had one other golfer competing as an individual. Freshman Shelby Lewis had scores of 78 and 79 on Monday to put her in a tie for 40th overall with a 157. That was third among the 17 golfers playing as individuals, trailing only Alexandra Velez of Saint Leo with a 154, and Selin Timur of Rollins, who had a 155.

The final round of the GolfRank Invitational gets underway at PGA National on Tuesday morning at 8:30.