Site: Statesboro, Ga.
Course: Georgia Southern University Golf Course (Par 72, 5,883 yards)
Tournament: Strutter Gus Invitational
HPU Team Standing: 4th of 12 teams (323-308-306-937, +73)
Top HPU Individual: Sarah Kahn, T-5th (80-74-75-229, +13)
Next HPU Round: Friday, Feb. 26 — at Aggie Invitational (Greensboro, N.C.)
STATESBORO, Ga. – The High Point University women’s golf team placed two inside the top-10 and came in fourth as a team in the Panthers’ first event of the season at the Strutter Gus Invitational Monday afternoon (Feb. 22).
The team had to finish its last six holes of round two this morning before beginning the final round after play yesterday was suspended due to darkness. Impending rain and stiff winds brought another challenge to the final round but the Panthers persevered, moving up the leaderboard three spots after entering the day in a tie for seventh. HPU finished rounds two and three with scores of 308 and 306, respectively, for a combined score of 614 over the final 36 holes for the third-best team score over the final two rounds, while the 306 in round three was the second-best team score in the final 18 holes.
“Despite a challenging course with unbelievably tough conditions we made a fantastic push up the leaderboard today,” head coach Alexis Bennett said of her team’s performance on the final day. “As a coach, that was one of the most fun rounds of golf to witness. The way this team gave it their all to the end was admirable. We’ve got a lot to fine-tune but this is going to be an exciting season with all the potential I now see that we have.”
Redshirt sophomore Sarah Kahn led the Purple and White at 13-over for a share of fifth place thanks to a 74 in round two and a final-round 75. Graduate student Samantha Vodry finished in seventh, one stroke behind Kahn at +14, and also finished round two with a 74. The 74s in the middle round were not only the best round of the three for each golfer, they were tied with each other for the second-best score in round two. Kahn’s classmate Olivia John finished just outside the top-25 in a tie for 26th at +21 after also carding a 75 in the final round.
“Sam and Sarah picked up right where they left off as the steady anchors of this team and Olivia continues to inject us with a positive jolt in final rounds,” Bennett continued on her top-three finishers. “Our freshmen have a lot to learn from and look up to in these three.”
Kahn and Vodry each birdied hole two in the morning after the restart of round two, as did freshman Danielle Suh. Kahn doubled the next but got back to even in the restart and +2 on the round with a birdie on five. Vodry bogeyed three and then doubled four to end the round at two-over after resuming play at even.
Kahn started the final round with a string of five pars before dropping a pair of shots with bogeys on 12 and 14. She bounced back with a birdie on 15 but carded consecutive bogeys on 18 and one to end her day with a 75, good enough to take home a top-five finish.
Vodry found one red number in round three and it came on her first hole, the par-3 seventh. She totaled four bogeys on the back and two more on the front to end her day with a 77 in the final round and in seventh place by herself.
John started with a trio of pars to make it to the back nine at even in the final round but only recorded one par over her next nine holes. She got to two-under in the round with consecutive birdies on 10 and 11 before bogeying the next three. John was able to recover and get back to even-par on the day with a birdie on 15 but then bogeyed 17 and 18 to come back to the front at +2 on the round. She gave one more back on the second hole to finish with a 75 on the day and at 21-over in the tournament, one shot outside the top-25.
Suh carded two birdies in her first four holes in round three on the way to a 79 in the final round for a tie for 35th in the tournament and Vynie Chen ended her first collegiate event with an 82 for a share of 58th place. Chen did end on a high note, picking up a birdie on her final hole of the tournament, one of just seven birdies on hole six in the final round.
High Point is right back in action this weekend in the Triad when the Panthers tee off in the Aggie Invitational at Forest Oaks Country Club in Greensboro, N.C. on Friday (Feb. 26) and Saturday (Feb. 27).