PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tuesday afternoon saw the Florida Southern women's golf team earn not one, but two wins at the GolfRank Invitational hosted by Nova Southeastern at PGA National. The Moccasins won the team title by slipping past Nova and Lynn in the final round, and sophomore Tori Higgins picked up her first career individual win in a one-hole playoff against Lynn's Jenny Ayala.
An opening round 298 left Florida Southern just one shot behind Lynn and one shot ahead of Nova Southeastern halfway through the tournament, two teams in the top-10 of the most recent GolfStat rankings. The Moccasins pulled ahead though with a 297 that included a 72 from Higgins and a one-under par 71 from freshman Amanda Gartrell that was the best score posted by any golfer in the two-round tournament. The Moccasins also counted two 77's from Abbey Williams and Victoria Cangero, the second day in a row all four of their counters were at 77 or better. Florida Southern's fifth golfer on Tuesday was Marisa Boccabella with a 79.
Though Gartrell had the best round for the Mocs on Tuesday, it was Higgins who was their top golfer in the tournament with a pair of 72's that gave her an even-par 144 overall. Ayala also had two rounds of 72, leaving her tied with Higgins to force a playoff for medalist. Higgins came out ahead when she birdied the par-4 No. 10 to make her the first Moccasin to win a tournament this season. It's also the second time in the last two seasons a Moccasin golfer has won a tournament in a playoff. Shannon McKew won the West Florida Argonaut Invitational last April in a 2-hole playoff.
Finishing two strokes behind Higgins and Ayala was Gartrell, who had a two-over 146 for the tournament. Her second-round 71 was her second under-par round of the season. Williams was also in the top-10, tied for eighth place with a 152 (+8).
All six of Florida Southern's golfers, including Anna Millet who was playing as an individual, finished in 17th place or better. Cangero tied for 11th with a 153, Boccabella was 16th with a 155, and Millet was tied for 17th with a 159.
While Florida Southern had all of their counters at 77 or better on Tuesday, Lynn fell into third place, eight shots behind Florida Southern after Ayala was the Knights' only counter who did better than a 77. With Gartrell and Higgins turning in a 71 and 72, it meant Florida Southern picked up five strokes from Higgins' position in the lineup and three strokes from either Williams or Cangero, as Lynn's fourth counter turned in an 80.
The Moccasins' team score of +19 (595) put them seven shots ahead of Nova Southeastern, which finished second.
Florida Southern will wrap up the fall portion of its schedule next week, Monday and Tuesday, October 31-November 1 in Columbia, South Carolina at the South Regional Preview Tournament.