KIAWAH ISLAND, SC – Make it three straight wins for the Florida Southern women's golf team. With all four counters scoring in the 70s and four players finishing in the top-10, the Moccasins shot a 306 Sunday to break a first-place tie with Wingate (NC) and capture the 2018 Barton College Invitational.
Even with cold and wet conditions over the weekend at Oak Point Golf Club on the Atlantic coast, the state of South Carolina continued to be kind to Florida Southern. It was the 13th-ranked Moccasins' third trip to the Palmetto State this season, where they were third out of 18 teams in the Battle at Old South in September, and won the Newberry Invitational at the end of October before this weekend's victory. The Newberry tournament is where the Moccasins' current winning streak started, which includes a dual match against the University of Kentucky in early January.
Sunday's win also continued a strong run for Florida Southern at Kiawah Island. The Moccasins finished third in the same tournament at Oak Point Golf Club last year, were second two years ago at the Kiawah Island Intercollegiate hosted by Tusculum, albeit at a different course, and won that tournament in 2015. In their 12 trips to Kiawah Island over the years, the Mocs have brought home the winning trophy five times (2008, 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2018).
The Moccasins began the day tied with 14th-ranked Wingate after both teams had a 313 on Saturday, but the Moccasins out-lasted the Bulldogs by counting a 74 by Amanda Gartrell, a 75 by Tori Higgins, a 78 by Ashley Zagers and a 79 by Abbey Williams. Madison Wetzel was the Mocs' non-counter Sunday with an 82. That gave the Mocs a 306 in the round, and a total score of 630, which was 11 shots better than their third-place score in last year's Barton Invitational.
Wingate also had all four of its counters in the 70s, but the Bulldogs' best scores were a pair of 76s by Warissara Puangcharoen and Laura Nunez Rodriguez. That was exactly three strokes behind what the Moccasins got from their two best golfers Sunday, Gartrell and Higgins, matching the final margin of victory.
Gartrell was four-over halfway through her round but birdies on 16 and 18 brought her score down to +2. That also made her Florida Southern's top golfer in the tournament with a two-round total of 153, good for a third place tie in the individual standings, her best finish of the season. Higgins also had two birdies on the back nine to put her at +3 for the day and +11 (155) for the tournament. That brought her up seven spots for an eighth-place finish, her fifth top-10 showing of the season.
Zagers gave the Mocs two more back-nine birdies to check in at +6 for the round and tie Higgins for eighth with a 155 overall. With Williams shooting a 79 for a two-day total of 156, Florida Southern had four golfers in the top-10 for the third time this season in a full-field tournament.
Wetzel tied for 46th with a 169 and was one of three Moccasins who improved their score Sunday by exactly five strokes. The others were Gartrell and Higgins.
While finishing three shots ahead of runner-up Wingate, Florida Southern was nine in front of third-place Tusculum (TN), and 19 ahead of Anderson (SC) and Lenoir-Rhyne (NC), who tied for fourth.
Madison Corley of UNC Pembroke won the individual title by defeating Dominika Czudkova of Lincoln Memorial (TN) in a one-hole playoff after both players had scores of 148, putting them five strokes ahead of Gartrell and Puangcharoen who were tied for third. Czudkova forced the playoff by shooting a 68 Sunday following an 80 on Saturday. Corley had led by five shots over Reme Cortes of Limestone going into the final round, but her 78 was 10 shots behind Czudkova Sunday. Cortes fell all the way to 18th with an 84.
Florida Southern's next tournament will be in two weeks when the Moccasins host their own Lady Moc Invitational, February 19-20 at Grasslands Golf & Country Club.