HPU Women’s Golf Panthers Advance to Match Play

Site: Ninety Six, S.C.
Course: The Patriot Golf Course at Grand Harbor (Par 72, 6,165 yards)
Tournament: Big South Championships
HPU Team Standing: 4th of 10 teams (303-292-303-898, +34)
Top HPU Individuals: Samantha Vodry (77-70-72-219, +3) & Sarah Kahn (73-74-72-219, +3), T-4th
Next HPU Round: Saturday, April 17 — vs. Campbell, Big South Semifinals – Match Play (Ninety Six, S.C.), 8 a.m.

NINETY SIX, S.C. – The High Point University women’s golf team fell back one place but still secured a spot in the match-play semifinals with a fourth-place finish on the final day of stroke play at the Big South Championships on Friday (April 16).

HPU only led by one shot over fifth-place Winthrop with three holes to go but had a late surge to create some separation from the Eagles, finishing six shots clear of Winthrop at +34. The fourth-place finish gives the Panthers a berth in the match-play semifinals of the Big South Championships, with the top four teams battling it out over two head-to-head rounds to determine the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals.

“It’s been a long week of grinding,” head coach Alexis Bennett said after the round. “We’re fortunate to have a fresh slate going into match play. Not many putts have fallen in our favor thus far so we’re excited to be in a position to be aggressive and put all the pieces together. I have so much belief in this group. We have a lot left in the tank and we are fully capable of rising to the occasion tomorrow.”

Two members of the Purple and White finished in the top-five in Samantha Vodry and Sarah Kahn, both tied for fourth at three-over. Both of them carded even-par 72s in the final round for High Point’s two best rounds of the day and were two of just five rounds of par or better among the entire field on Friday. Danielle Suh finished just outside the top-20 in a share of 21st at 10-over for the event after taking an 80 in the third round, while Vynie Chen shot a 79 to finish in a tie for 32nd at +18, and Olivia John ended stroke play in 38th place at +26 after a final-round 81.

Vodry finished the front one-under for the second round in a row with one of just five birdies on the day on the par-5 fifth. The back didn’t start as well as she would’ve liked as she quickly dropped three shots with a bogey and a double, but recovered with a birdie on 12. A bogey on 16 put her back to two-over but she rebounded nicely and finished on a high note with back-to-back birdies to get her back to even par on the day and in the top-five of the leaderboard. Vodry finished with a team-best 10 birdies in the championship, one of just nine golfers in the field to reach double digits.

Kahn was one behind her in the birdie department with nine over the three rounds and picked up all three of hers on Friday in the final seven holes. She took two bogeys on the front nine, including one on the first, and then got both strokes back with two birdies in her first five holes of the back. She went back above par with a bogey on 15 but birdied 18 for the third time to get back to even, joining Vodry as the only Panther to birdie the 18th hole in all three rounds.

The rest of the Purple and White only mustered four birdies between the three of them, with Chen picking up a pair after carding one on each nine. Her first birdie of the day came on the par-5 eighth but she took four bogeys in her first nine as well to make the turn at three-over. Two more bogeys and a triple ran the numbers up on her card but a birdie on the last ended her day on the right foot and gave HPU a total of nine birdies on 18 over the course of the championship to play it nine-under, the second-best team score on 18 over the three rounds behind Gardner-Webb’s score of -10.

Suh only had 10 pars in the final round but still ended the championship with the most of any competitor in the field with a total of 38 in the three rounds. Her lone birdie of round three came on the par-5 16th, as did John’s – with both taking a pair of double bogeys on the day.

Campbell took home the team honors and will be High Point’s opponent in Saturday’s semifinals (April 17), while second-place USC Upstate will square off with third-place Gardner-Webb. The lineup for High Point’s match with Campbell is as follows (stroke play results listed):

Sarah Kahn (T-4th, +3) vs. Isabell Ekstrom (T-16, +9)
Danielle Suh (T-21st, +10) vs. Praticia Garre Munoz (T-8th, +5)
Samantha Vodry (T-4th, +3) vs. Tomita Arejola (T-6th, +4)
Ashley Chalmers (DNP in stroke play) vs. Emily Hawkins (T-6th, +4)
Vynie Chen (T-32nd, +18) vs. Anna Nordfors (2nd, -3)

Kahn and Ekstrom will get things started off the first hole at 8 a.m., with the final pairing going off at 8:32.