LAKELAND, FL – After sophomore Amanda Gartrell and freshman Ashley Zagers led Florida Southern in the scoring column in round one Monday morning, the afternoon round saw the same two golfers set the pace again for the Moccasins. Their scores of 144 and 147 respectively helped put Florida Southern in seventh place out of 17 teams, while Nova Southeastern held a two-shot lead over Seminole State (FL) in the 2018 Lady Moc Classic.
Monday's first round was played in some of the warmest conditions anyone associated with the tournament could remember. The wind may have been a bigger concern early in the day, but based on the scores teams were turning in for round one, and later round two, it apparently wasn't a factor. Nova Southeastern's 290, with all four counters shooting 74 or better, was just one shot off the single-round record for a Lady Moc Classic, and it tied the record for the best opening-round score. By the end of the day that record had fallen, and it wasn't even the Sharks who broke it.
Nova Southeastern and Seminole State each broke 300 in both rounds, putting both schools ahead of the pace needed to set the tournament scoring record. The Sharks were at +7 after rounds of 290 and 293, and the Raiders were at +9 following a 296 and 289. Those are the two best scores through two rounds the tournament has ever seen. In 2014, Lynn made it through round two at +10. Saint Leo, in third place, still managed to trump both of them by setting a new single-round tournament scoring record with a five-under-par 283 that vaulted the Lions into third place at the end of the day at +14.
The Lions' second-round score bettered their first-round score Monday by 24 shots, and the previous tournament record, set by Lynn in 2014, by seven. That made them the first team to ever break par in any round at the Lady Moc Classic, which is now in its 20th year. They received a 68 from Synne Lauritzen, a 69 from Margine Arguello, a 71 from Vilde Eriksen, and a 75 from Amanda Jakobsson.
Those scores by Lauritzen and Arguello were just two of eight in the 60s Monday, something that had been done only eight times combined in the previous 19 Lady Moc Classics. Before this year, no one had ever done that twice in one tournament, but Seminole State's Tuan-Yu Chiang, the defending individual co-champion, did just that on Monday. The sophomore opened with a 69 and tied the single-round individual record with a 68 in round two, along with Lauritzen and Lynn's Helen Kreuzer, who was playing strictly as an individual.
Chiang, who is trying to become the first 2-time Lady Moc champion, was able to take a three-stroke lead over Kreuzer, Barry's Tilda Larsson, and Nova Southeastern's Michelle Ruiz at the end of the day. Her seven-under-par 137 gives her a good chance to break the tournament scoring record she set last year with former Saint Leo golfer Marie Coors. She needs a 76 on Tuesday to break it, and with six others posting under-par scores, she may not be the only one.
Gartrell isn't quite under-par, but she's close at even-par 144. After finishing third last year as a freshman, the Lakeland native is in position for another top-10 or top-five finish. She parred or birdied 15 holes in round one, and had five birdies in round two before a double-bogey on 18 dropped her to 71 and left her tied for eighth.
Zagers parred or birdied 14 holes in her first round, including her final nine that gave her the best round of her freshman campaign at 73. She continued that streak through the first five holes of round two and went on to shoot a 74 that has her tied for 12th. She's seeking her fourth top-10 tournament finish of the season.
Junior Tori Higgins and senior Abbey Williams are tied for 52nd with scores of 158 that saw them post scores of 77 and 81 in round one, and then flip them around the opposite way in round two. Freshman Shelby Lewis, playing in the regular lineup for the first time, was their fourth counter in round one with a 79 and added an 83 in round two. She's tied for 68th with a 162 overall. Lewis spent most of round two at +2 or better before slipping down the stretch. Altogether, the Mocs played their final hole of the day at +5, whether that was at 18 or somewhere else due to the shotgun start.
Playing as individuals were junior Madison Wetzel and senior Kolby McWilliams, who had first-round scores of 76 and 83 respectively. (Victoria Cangero withdrew before the start of play Monday morning.)
Of the nine golfers playing as individuals, Wetzel's first-round score was topped by only Kreuzer, who shot a 72. After playing her first seven holes at +6, Wetzel turned it around and went two-under the remainder of round one. She had an 80 in round two and is tied with McWilliams for 39th with an overall score of 156.
McWilliams put together one of Florida Southern's best scores of either round with a 73 in the afternoon. After starting that round with a double-bogey on 18, McWilliams did not have another bogey until her final hole on 17. In between she birdied 10, 12, and 13, cutting through a par-3, par-4, and par-5. Her 73 was the best round of her college career, one shot better than she had at the Saint Leo Invitational earlier this season. She also had a 74 in the second round of the Lady Moc Classic two years ago.
The final round of the 2018 Lady Moc Classic gets underway Tuesday morning with another 8 a.m. shotgun start.