Site: Greenville, N.C.
Course: Greenville Country Club (Par 72, 6,061 yards)
Tournament: ECU Pirate Collegiate Classic
HPU Team Standing: 5th of 10 teams (315-296-301–912, +48)
Top HPU Individual: Sarah Kahn (77-73-72–222, +6), T-5th
Next HPU Round: Sunday, September 26 — at Bryan National Collegiate (Greensboro, N.C.)
GREENVILLE, N.C. – Behind a final-round 72, redshirt junior Sarah Kahn ended the ECU Pirate Collegiate Classic with a top-five finish on Tuesday (Sept. 21) in the first tournament of the season.
Kahn’s round was one of three rounds of par or better on the day as only one golfer was able to go under par in the windy conditions. Her jump of five spots in the final 18 holes was also the second-largest climb among any golfer in the top 20.
Her finish wasn’t the only fifth-place finish the Purple and White had as the team came in fifth place at +48, three shots behind Marshall in fourth and 10 strokes behind the highest Big South finisher in the field in Charleston Southern. Not only did HPU finish in fifth place as a team, but its final round of a 301 was also the fifth-best on day two of the tournament.
Danielle Suh and Minonna Falkman Lehes each fired rounds of 75 on Tuesday to finish in a tie for 15th place and in 17th place outright, respectively. Olivia John put three birdies on the card with a 79 for a 37th-place finish while Vynie Chen finished one stroke behind in 38th place after a final-round 82.
“It was a slow start for us overall,” head coach Alexis Bennett had to say after the season’s opening tournament. “The first round took us right out of the running so we’re certainly disappointed in the finish. I have a lot of faith in the work we’ve put in so a quick turnaround is a big positive in my mind. This team has got the best chemistry; it won’t be difficult to put this one in the review mirror.”
Kahn played both the long holes and short holes rather well throughout the three rounds, finishing at even-par on the par-3s and four-under on the par-5s after picking up two birdies on the par-5s in Tuesday’s round. She was one of only five golfers to shoot par-or-better on the par-3s and her score of four-over on the lengthy holes was tied for the fourth-best score on them. Kahn also ended the tournament with 10 birdies to tie for the third-most among the field. That moves her career total up to 188 birds, further cementing her spot in third place on HPU’s all-time leaderboard and just 26 away from moving into second place.
Starting on the back, her round didn’t get off to the best start as she took three bogeys in her first six holes before she finished the nine with two birdies and a bogey to make the turn at two-over – the best nine-hole score on the back for the Panthers in round three. The front was a different story for High Point’s ace as she picked up three birdies and just one bogey for the only set of nine holes under par for the Purple and White on Tuesday with a 34 on the front, capped off with a birdie on her final hole of the day.
Suh and Falkman Lehes had identical scores on the front and back but achieved them in very different ways. Like Kahn, Suh struggled in the start on the back and was sitting at four-over heading into her ninth hole of the day, 18. She picked up her only birdie of the day on the par-5 finisher and carried that momentum over to the front to finish with nine straight pars.
Falkman Lehes started her round with a double on 10 and a bogey on 11 before rattling off eight straight pars of her own to finish the back and get through the first hole on the front. She carded birdies on two and five before taking a bogey and double on six and seven, respectively, and then ended her round with a birdie on nine to get back to even for the front and three-over in the round to match Suh.
Both Falkman Lehes and Suh led HPU in pars in the tournament, with Falkman Lehes carding 35 to tie for the sixth-most and just four away from the lead while Suh was one behind her in a share of 10th with 34 pars in the event.
ECU leads the tournament after 36 holes with a 588 after having both rounds under 300. High Point is only eight shots behind second place as Towson and Charleston Southern are tied for the spot at +27, with Marshall sitting one stroke behind at +28. The Pirates also have the individual leader after Kilsti fired a pair of 68s to be the only golfer multiple strokes under par.
John had two birdies as part of a 40 on the back nine to start the day and then added one as she took one stroke off her score on the front to finish with her 79. Chen couldn’t get into red numbers until her 12th hole of the day, picking up her only birdie of the round on the par-3 third hole.
It’s a short rest for High Point as the Panthers are right back in action next week at the Bryan National Collegiate on Sunday through Tuesday (Sept. 26-28). The event hosted by Wake Forest will be played in the Triad at Bryan Park Golf Course in Greensboro, one of two events in Greensboro on HPU’s fall schedule.