Cayla Smith leads HPU women’s golf in Delaware

• Junior Cayla Smith is tied for 18th with a 36-hole total of 158
• Senior Danielle Fuss is tied for 23rd
• The Panthers are in eighth place and showed a 13-stroke improvement in round two

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. – High Point University women’s golf junior Cayla Smith put together her best performance of the season Saturday to lead the Panthers during 36 holes at the UD Blue Hen Invitational.

Battling treacherous wind throughout the day, Smith shot a 36-hole total of 158 (78-80) and is tied for 18th heading into Sunday action. She utilized her length during her Saturday rounds to rank t-11th in the field in par-5 scoring (+1) while making four birdies in the difficult conditions.

Overall, the Panthers sit in eighth place after 36 holes with a total of 653. After opening with a 333, the Purple & White shot a much-improved 320 in the afternoon session.

“I’m proud of the fight in these girls,” head coach Alexis Bennett said. “The conditions were brutal between the cold, the rain and the constant, high winds. We made a lot of mistakes today but we continue to learn with each round. I again was pleased to see a second round improvement. We have another chance to get better tomorrow as we prepare for the conference preview, a big checkpoint on our schedule.”

Senior Danielle Fuss is tied for 23rd through two rounds with a combined total of 160 (78-82). The Rochester, N.Y., product made four birdies in her opening 18 and overcame a difficult start in the afternoon to finish her round with eight pars.

Freshman Samantha Vodry is tied for 38th with a 36-hole cumulative mark of 166. She struggled during her first round (89), but showed a solid 12-stroke improvement in round two (77) to turn her day around. That second round included a pair of birdies and nine pars.

Fellow freshman Tonrak Tasaso is 47th but also showed a lot of poise in her second round. She opened with a 90 but fired an 81 in her second 18 that included a pair of birdies.

Freshman Anna-Marie Kuenzle was just a stroke behind and sits 48th with a 36-hole score of 174 that includes rounds of 88 and 86.

The Harvard Crimson lead the tournament (613), followed by Penn (623) and Rutgers (625).

High Point wraps up the Blue Hen Invite Sunday with 18 holes beginning at 9 a.m.