One Round In, and Rymer's In Good Position at NCAA Super Regional With a 74
DADE CITY – At a site where she’s played some of the best golf of her career, and not too far from home, Florida Southern’s Emily Rymer took what she hopes is the first step on a longer road through the NCAA postseason. The junior shot an opening-round 74 at the Division II South Region Tournament on Sunday, putting her in a tie for fourth place with two rounds remaining.
Playing only 45 minutes from the Florida Southern campus, and a little over an hour from her hometown of Orlando, Rymer already has two top-five finishes at Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club this season. She’s in position to make it three as she tries to advance from the regional to the national tournament while playing as an individual. To do that, she’ll need to have one of the top three scores among players who don’t move on with one of the three advancing teams. Right now she holds one of those positions, but three other golfers have at least a share of them too, and several others are within one or two strokes.
Rymer got off to a tough start when she bogeyed the first two holes. Looking back though, it might not have been that bad after all. The par-four, 387-yard No. 1, played as the one of the most difficult for the entire 49-player field, with more than half of them going for a bogey or worse, the second highest percentage in the first round. The only birdie on that hole came from SSC Player-of-the-Year Jessica Bradley.
After the second hole, Rymer found her stride. She picked up her first birdie on the par-four No. 6, before a bogey on No. 9 left her at two-over when she made the turn. All the while, she still held one of the three crucial positions she needed and never fell out of the top-10, even when the rest of the field took the course later in the morning.
On the back nine, Rymer birdied back-to-back holes at 13 and 14, one of them a par-five and the other a par-three. That got her score for the round back to even-par before she bogeyed 16 and 18 to finish at two-over for the day. When she went to the clubhouse around 1:00, that score was good for ninth place, with Florida Tech’s Rachel Polson the leader at -2 halfway through her own round. None of the other individual qualifiers shot better than a 79 in the first round.
Polson stumbled badly on the back nine and by the time she finished, her 4-stroke lead over Rymer was completely gone, and she too had a 74. That left West Florida’s Daisy-May Kenny as the first-round leader with a two-under par 70, more than eight shots better than her season average coming into play, and a school NCAA postseason record. She was the only one of the 49 golfers who did not have a single bogey in the entire round.
With Lynn (297), Florida Tech (301), and Barry (304) the top three teams on Sunday, it means Kenny holds one of the three individual spots that would also advance. The other two spots aren’t as clear-cut, with three golfers currently sharing them. One of those is Rymer, with another West Florida golfer, Elin Olsson, among that group as well. The third player who shot a 74 on Sunday is Kayla Sciupider of Rollins. In addition to those four players, Armstrong Atlantic’s Jenna Birch is just one stroke behind the cut-off point, and three others are two strokes behind.
One of those who shot a 76 on Sunday was Saint Leo’s Marie Coors, who was the only player to beat Rymer at the Sunshine State Conference Championships in April. Coors shot a tournament-record 218 to win the SSC individual title, buoyed by a 66 in the opening round.
Much could change on Monday though. West Florida is in fourth place in the team standings, but trailing Barry by only two strokes. If the Argonauts can overtake the Buccaneers or either Lynn or Florida Tech, then Kenny and Olsson would be with one of the top three teams, taking them out of the running for an individual bid to nationals and putting Rymer in a better position.
Round two of the regional tournament begins Monday morning at 8:30, with Rymer teeing off at 8:40. She’ll again be paired with Ashlii Thompson of UNC-Pembroke, who is tied for 29th with a 79.
Click here for the live scoring of the NCAA Division II South Super Region 2 Tournament