BLUFFTON, SC – With all five players in the top-10, all of them with a 74 or better, the 5th-ranked Florida Southern women's golf team took the lead after one round of the Battle at Old South. The Moccasins used 10 birdies to post a team score of 293 (+5), putting them four shots ahead of No. 16 Lee (TN) and six in front of third-place Catawba.
Florida Southern's top golfer Saturday was senior Tori Higgins, who had a one-under par 71 to tie for second in the player standings, and all four of the other Moccasins (junior Amanda Gartrell, sophomore Shelby Lewis, and freshmen Loren Perez and Nathalie Svensson) shot a 74. Only Catawba had as many as three players with a 74 or better, but the Indians had to count a 78 from their fourth. Lee got a 71 from Haverly Harrold and a 73 from Emily Felix, but its third and fourth golfers had a 76 and 77, allowing Florida Southern to take the lead with its more balanced scoring.
Four golfers broke par Saturday, led by Flagler's Pauline Tainton who had a two-under par 70. That put her one stroke ahead of Higgins, Harrold, and Anna Meleshkina from Columbus State. A group of five golfers was tied for fifth at one-over par 73 before the quartet of Moccasins made up the largest portion of the large group of players tied for 10th.
Higgins made the turn at three-under with three birdies and went to four-under after another on 12. Two of her bogeys after that came on two of the holes that seemed to present the most challenges for the entire field, 13 and 14. The Mocs did get a pair of birdies on 14, however from Gartrell and Svensson, which were two of only four birdies on that hole in the first round by the entire 90-player field. That effectively erased the two bogeys the Mocs also had on that hole.
Gartrell and Svensson combined for five of Florida Southern's 10 birdies with three and two respectively, and Perez added one on 18 that helped add to the Mocs' lead at the end of the day. Lewis, meanwhile, was the Mocs' most steady player throughout the day, and though she did not have a birdie on her scorecard, she had a team-high 16 pars.
Freshman Hanna Rizzolo is playing in the tournament as an individual and shot a 77 to tie for 32nd place. Rizzolo is second among the six individuals in the field and also had the tournament's only eagle of round one. That came on the 355-yard, par-4 No. 2.
The second and final round at Old South Golf Links begins Sunday morning at 8:04, with the Moccasins beginning play as a team at 9:32 a.m.