OCALA, Fla. – Despite some of the toughest competition they will face all year, the Saint Leo women’s golf team managed to rebound from a rough second round to improve one spot and finish seventh in the final round of the MSU Spring Invitational hosted by Morehead State University and played at the Juliette Falls Golf Resort in Ocala, Fla. The Lions finished 316-320-308—944 to leapfrog Mercer University for a solid seventh place showing.
Trailing tournament champion Daytona State College, who passed Stetson on the final day, by over 50 strokes, the magnitude of the competition that Saint Leo faced forced SLU to raise their game to new heights. The Lions’ 944 team total set a new school record for the women’s golf team in a 54-hole tournament, besting their previous record set last season at the Barry Buccaneer Invitational.
"I am pleased with the way the girls came out strong in the final round, "Head Coach Erika Brennan said. "We were confident that we could really score on this course, and it’s nice to finish with a strong round going into the (Sunshine State) Conference tournament."
"The field was very strong so we used the standards we set for ourselves to measure our success. It felt good to move up a spot today and get rewarded for good play."
In a departure from the norm, Saint Leo saw a new name atop the team’s leaderboard as junior Suzanne Ervin’s 77-78-78—233 was good enough for the SLU title and 21st overall. Senior Anna Riss (80-82-74—236) and sophomore Tricia Maloney (78-79-79—236) both finished tied for 24th.
"Suzanne and Tricia both had a great tournament," Brennan continued. "It is very reassuring that if your top player is having a rough day that we have girls ready to fill that role. They really played like a team at this tournament."
Junior Jordan Hatch’s 31st-place, 81-81-77—239 was the last counting card in the SLU lineup and also solidified just the second time in SLU women’s golf history that the Lions counted all four scores in the 70’s. She also wrapped up the tournament with her first-ever hole-in-one on Friday afternoon.
Coach Brennan also added two individuals to the SLU roster for the tournament as junior Kristina Carvalho’s 82-82-76—240 saw her finish in 33rd and freshman Heather Wengyn’s 94-94-86—274 wrapped up the tournament in 49th.
"Individually, Kristina also had a break-out tournament and certainly made a statement to get into the starting five at the conference tournament. While I haven't made a final decision yet, I am extremely proud of the way she played."
The Lions’ next tournament will be the seasons’ biggest as the Lions travel to Davie, Fla. and compete with seven other teams in the Sunshine State Conference Golf Championships hosted by Nova Southeastern University. Saint Leo will head to the Grande Oaks Golf Club on April 18th as they make one final push for their first-ever NCAA Regional Tournament appearance.