Gartrell Wins 2019 Argonaut Invitational by Two Strokes as Florida Southern Finishes Third

Amanda Gartrell with UWF interim coach Phil Ebert
Amanda Gartrell with UWF interim coach Phil Ebert

NAVARRE, FL – Amanda Gartrell came from two shots down with one round remaining to win the 2019 Argonaut Invitational by two shots, and with top-20 finishes by Shelby Lewis and Loren Perez, 13th-ranked Florida Southern finished third in its final tournament of the regular season.

Gartrell began the day trailing Nova Southeastern's Hanna Ahlander by two strokes, and the two were playing in the same group on Tuesday. West Georgia's Franziska Bremm was also tied for second and playing ahead of Gartrell and Ahlander on the course, but dropped a stroke when she bogeyed her first hole of the day. While she made up for that with a birdie three holes later, Bremm fell out of contention with double-bogeys on 10 and 11, and another bogey on 13, putting her at +5 halfway through the round.

Starting on No. 1, Gartrell birdied 1 and 3 to catch Ahlander, who parred the first three holes. Ahlander continued her run of pars all the way through No. 9, but Gartrell double-bogeyed 4 and bogeyed 7 to fall three shots off the pace. Her birdie on 9 got her back to where she started the day, and when Ahlander had her first bogey on No. 10, Gartrell drew within one shot.

Once more, Gartrell lost a stroke when she bogeyed 12, but just one hole later she had the lead and never lost it. While Ahlander made a triple-bogey on the par-3 No. 13, Gartrell parred it to go up by one, and a birdie on 14 gave her a three-stroke lead. Ahlander then birdied 15 to cut the deficit down to two, but it remained that way the rest of the day as both golfers parred the final three holes. That gave Gartrell the first win of her career, and the first for a Moccasin since Tori Higgins won the Nova Southeastern GolfRank Invitational in a playoff on October 25, 2016. It was the 10th tournament top-five and 18th top-10 finish of Gartrell's career.

Gartrell is the third Moccasin to win the Argonaut Invitational in the last five years. Emily Rymer won in 2015 at Stonebrook Country Club in Pace with a 223 (+7), and Shannon McKew won in a playoff at Marcus Pointe Golf Club in Pensacola in 2016 with a 226 (+10). Gartrell captured this year's event at The Club at Hidden Creek in Navarre with a total score of 218 (+2), two strokes ahead of Ahlander and three ahead of Bremm.

None of the 11 teams broke 300 on Tuesday, with West Florida's 302 and 3rd-ranked Nova Southeastern's 305 the best scores of the day. The Sharks won the tournament with an 891 (+27), beating West Florida by 21 shots and Florida Southern by 39. Fourth-place and 16th-ranked Saint Leo was 46 shots behind the Sharks. Only eight golfers in the tournament were better than +12, and four of those were from Nova Southeastern. The Sharks had all five of their golfers in the top-10.

In addition to Gartrell's 72, the Moccasins got counting scores from Madi Wetzel (79), Lewis (81), and Perez (84). Tori Higgins shot an 85, and Nathalie Svensson had an 83 playing as an individual.

Lewis ended up tied for 14th with a total score of 233, and Perez was four strokes behind her in 20th place with a 237. Higgins was tied for 33rd with a 248, and Wetzel was tied for 37th with a 249. Svensson tied for 41st with a 254.

The tournament average was just over 83 per round, or 250 for the tournament. There were only two rounds under par in any round, one of them Ahlander's 71 in the opener, and the other a 71 from Harding's Brooklyn Terry on Tuesday. Gartrell was the only golfer with two rounds of even-par or better.

Florida Southern's next tournament will be the Sunshine State Conference Championships, April 14-16 at Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club in Saint Leo.