HPU Women’s Golf Panthers Finish Fourth in Birmingham

Site: Birmingham, Ala.
Course: Greystone Golf & Country Club (Par 72/73, 6,103 yards)
Tournament: UAB Spring Invitational
HPU Team Standing: 4th of 11 teams (309-302-611, +35)
Top HPU Individual: Samantha Vodry, T-7th (76-74-150, +6)
Next HPU Round: Monday, March 29 — at Georgia State Invitational (Johns Creek, Ga.)

BIRMINGHAM. Ala. – The High Point University women’s golf team shot a 302 in the second round of the UAB Spring Invitational on Tuesday (March 16) to move up two spots for a fourth-place finish in the rain-shortened event, just 10 shots off the lead.

The teams completed 27 holes out of the planned 36 on Monday before a storm rolled in and only played the nine holes to finish round two before calling the event at 36 holes. HPU’s score of 302 was the best of the second round among the teams in the field, edging host and team champion UAB by one stroke.

The Panthers have now had their final round finish first, second, or third among final-round scores across the field in every event they’ve played in this season, never carding a final round more than three strokes worse than the best team in that round.

“Overall it was an average week for us but the nine holes we played today in really tough conditions were about as good a finish as I could have hoped for,” head coach Alexis Bennett said after the event. “I’d love to see us come into the opening rounds with the same quiet confidence and intensity that we showed today but we’re starting to get our bearings and consistently putting up one of the best rounds of the field in the final rounds, which is what I love about this team.”

Samantha Vodry and Sarah Kahn each had top-10 finishes for the third week in a row, with Vodry beating Kahn by one stroke to finish in a tie for seventh at +6 while Kahn was by herself in ninth place at six-over. The duo have been stalwarts at the top of the leaderboards for the Panthers this season, finishing in the top 10 in all three events so far this year, with Kahn’s streak extending an extra event to the final tournament of 2020. Olivia John was close behind and took home a top-15 finish, coming in a tie for 15th at +10. Freshman Danielle Suh was tied for 34th at +16 and Sophie Caldon finished in a share of 55th at +25 in her first event for the Purple and White.

“We’re still very much in search of some quality scoring out of our four and five slots to put ourselves in contention, but the way Olivia has stepped up for us this season has been huge,” Bennett continued. “Her improved play paired with Samantha’s and Sarah’s active top-10 streaks are bringing us closer and closer to our best golf.”

Kahn and Vodry were level with each other at four-over through the first 18 holes, with each picking up two birdies in the round. John was only one shot behind them at +5, while Caldon finished at eight-over with a round-high three birdies for the Panthers.

Vodry and Kahn again matched each other with three birdies in the second round, but a double for Kahn on hole three proved to be the difference-maker that allowed Vodry to squeeze past her by a stroke with a 74, one of just seven golfers to shoot under 75 in the second round. One of Vodry’s birdies in round two was on the par-3 10th – the only birdie on the hole out of the entire 126 rounds played at the tournament.

Suh had the third-best round for HPU on Tuesday with a 76, recovering from an 84 the day before where she didn’t have any birdies to picking up two in the final round, including one on her penultimate hole. John was one stroke behind Suh in the final round at five-over, picking up just a single birdie on the par-3 fourth, one of just four birdies on what was playing as the third-hardest hole in the final round.

UAB won the team title at +25, three shots better than second-place Xavier. UAB also had the individual champion as Tia Teiniketo was the only golfer to go under par in both rounds with a par of 70s, carding two of the four red-number rounds in the entire event.

High Point has a little bit of a break before heading to the Georgia State Invitational at the end of the month in Johns Creek, Ga. The Panthers will hope to play 36 holes on the first day (March 29) – something HPU has yet to do on day one yet – before playing the final 18 holes a day later (March 30).