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Florida Southern in Third Place at Peggy Kirk Bell Invitational, as Moccasins Trail Nova and Dallas Baptist by Seven

Tori Higgins
Tori Higgins

WINDERMERE, FL – Tori Higgins led Florida Southern in the opening round with a one-under-par 71, and Amanda Gartrell was the Moccasin leader in round two with a 69, leaving both golfers tied for 10th place and Florida Southern in third place in the team standings at the Peggy Kirk Bell Invitational hosted by Rollins.

Florida Southern, which is ranked No. 7 by Golfstat, top-ranked Nova Southeastern and 4th-ranked Dallas Baptist all had team scores of even-par 288 in the second of two rounds played on Monday at The Golden Bear Club at Keene's Point. The difference was round one where the Sharks and Patriots each had a 290, and the Moccasins had a 297. The Mocs were actually fourth at the end of the first round, with No. 3 Saint Leo's 294 enough to put the Lions third and only four shots off the pace; but the Lions fell into fourth at the end of the day, eight shots behind the co-leaders and just one behind Florida Southern.

The 288 was Florida Southern's best score this season by six shots, and the fourth lowest single-round score in team history based on par. The school record of two-under-par 286 was set on October 21, 2008, in the second round of the Saint Leo Invitational. The Mocs have twice been at one-under par, most recently in 2011 at the Division II National Finals.

Higgins' 71 in the opening round had the junior tied for second individually at that point, two strokes behind Madison Corley from UNC Pembroke. That tied her season-low and the season-low for the Moccasins, matching a 71 she shot in round two of the Battle at Old South in September. That didn't stand very long though as the Mocs' best score of the season as Gartrell fired a 69 in the afternoon. That made her the first Moccasin to shoot in the 60s since Emily Rymer had a 69 in the final round of the University of Cincinnati Spring Invite in March of 2014.

Gartrell's 69 followed a 76 in the morning, and Higgins combined her opening-round 71 with a 74 in the afternoon. That put both golfers at +1 (145) for the day and tied for 10th, trailing co-leaders Jamie Freedman of Nova Southeastern and Evelyn Arguelles of Dallas Baptist by five strokes. Freedman and Arguelles, who had a 67 and 68 respectively in round two, were two of the five golfers who finished the first two rounds under-par, and four more were at even-par. Nova and Dallas Baptist each had two of them.

Abbey Williams was tied for 15th at +3 (147) following rounds of 75 and 72. The second-round 72 was her best score of the season, and it marked the first time this season Florida Southern has had three different golfers with an under-par or even-par round in the same tournament.

Shelby Lewis was tied for 23rd place with a +148 (+4) while putting together rounds of 75 and 73. The 73 matched her best round of the season.

Ashley Zagers was tied for 35th place with rounds of 76 and 75 that gave her a +7 (151). Only Nova's Janelle Johnson had a better score among fifth golfers with a 149.

Playing as individuals were Madison Wetzel, Victoria Cangero, and Kolby McWilliams, who were tied for 39th, 46th, and 55th respectively in the field of 100 golfers. Wetzel had a 152 (79-73), Cangero had a 154 (78-76), and McWilliams had a 157 (77-80). The 73 in round two by Wetzel was the best for any of the 11 golfers playing as individuals and her best round of the season.

The final round of the Peggy Kirk Bell Invitational is Tuesday with an 8:15 a.m. shotgun start.