PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL – Freshman Loren Perez shot a one-under par 71 to earn her first career top-five finish, and every Moccasin in the lineup shot a 76 or better to give No. 5 Florida Southern a second-place finish at the Shark Invitational. The Moccasins finished 12 shots behind host Nova Southeastern, and those two schools were the only ones to break 300 in Tuesday's final round.
The Moccasins had already slashed 12 shots off the Sharks' lead after round one on Monday but were unable to get any closer Tuesday even with their final-round 295. The Sharks had a 293 that included a pair of 70s from tournament individual champion Sophie Madden and Mathilda Bertuol. The Mocs did break the second-round tie with 4th-ranked Barry after the Buccaneers shot a 300 in the final round to finish third, 17 shots behind No. 3 Nova Southeastern. Tampa was a distant fourth, 33 shots off the pace.
Perez spent the entire day at or under par following a birdie on her second hole of the day. She was three-under at one point before finishing at -1, the best score for the Moccasins during the tournament. That followed rounds of 79 and 73 from Monday, giving her a total score of 223 (+7) and sole possession of fifth place in a field of 63 golfers. Only two of them shot better than Perez on Tuesday, both of them from Nova Southeastern with 70s.
Tori Higgins, who had been tied with Perez for 11th going into the final round, had a one-over par 73 Tuesday to move up into eighth place in the final standings. Her scores improved each round, going from 77 to 75 to 73 for a total of 225 (+9) that was enough to put her in the top-10 for the third time in three tournaments this season.
Amanda Gartrell gave Florida Southern a third golfer in the top-10 with a 226 (+10) that put her in a tie for ninth. She had a final-round 76, as did Ashley Zagers, who tied for 21st with a 233 (+17). Nathalie Svensson was another counter for the Mocs on Tuesday with a 75, her best round of the tournament. That pushed her up nine spots to tie for 27th with a total score of 237. Svensson tied Perez for the team lead in the final round with three birdies.
Playing as an individual, Shelby Lewis shot an 81 to finish tied for 30th at 238 overall.
Madden won the tournament for Nova Southeastern with a three-round total of one-under par 215 (72-73-70). She was six strokes ahead of Eckerd's Laila Forstmane and Keiser's Samantha Fuller. Barry's Tilda Larsson was fourth with a 222, and Perez was fifth with her 223.
Florida Southern's next tournament is October 15-16, at the Saint Leo Invitational hosted by Saint Leo University.