MIAMI LAKES – Balanced scoring was the key for Florida Southern Monday on day one of the Barry University Invitational, as the Moccasins came through the first two rounds tied for fourth in a tournament featuring five of the top six teams in Division II. After Amanda Gartrell and Tori Higgins were the top scorers for Florida Southern in round one, it was Abbey Williams, Shelby Lewis and Ashley Zagers in round two, with the Mocs under 300 in both rounds.
Florida Southern, which is No. 6 in the Golfstat rankings, had a strong opening round with a 296, its third lowest score of the season, but there were still four teams ahead of the Moccasins halfway through the day. Rollins, which is No. 13, spent most of the first round under par before settling back at +3, but it was No. 3 Dallas Baptist with the lead at the end of round one. The Patriots were one shot ahead of the Tars, three ahead of No. 1 Nova Southeastern, and four in front of No. 2 Indianapolis. Florida Southern and No. 5 tournament host Barry were tied for fifth place, trailing Dallas Baptist by six shots.
The Moccasins got an impressive run from Higgins, and half a dozen birdies or eagles from Gartrell over the first 18 holes. Higgins, who started on 11 in the shotgun start, was one-under through six before back-to-back bogeys on 17 and 18 put her at one-over. Over the next 10 holes though, Higgins was again one-under with one birdie and nine pars to end the round, and she finished with a 72 that was the Mocs' second lowest score.
Gartrell started on 10 with a bogey and made the turn at +1 before a double-bogey on 1 pushed her score up to +3. From there, however, the sophomore took control by playing her final eight holes at -4. That included an eagle on the par-5 No. 7. It was one of three eagles in the tournament for the day, and it gave Gartrell a 71, putting her three shots behind Sophie Madden from Nova Southeastern in a tie for fourth place halfway through the day.
Florida Southern also got a 75 from Zagers, and 78s from Williams and Lewis in the first round. Williams had three birdies in the round, second on the team to Gartrell's five.
Florida Southern was again one of six teams in the field of 17 to break 300 in the afternoon round, as did Nova Southeastern, Indianapolis, and Dallas Baptist ahead of them. Rollins, however, went from a 291 to 304 and dropped into a tie with Florida Southern at +19 (595). Nova Southeastern's second-round 289 was the best of the day and pushed the Sharks ahead of Dallas Baptist by one shot, and Indianapolis by three. The Moccasins and Tars were 13 shots off the pace, while Barry and Florida Tech were 14 behind.
The Moccasins were led by Williams' one-over par 73 that included birdies on back-to-back holes (18 and 1) that had her at two-under through eight holes. She was never worse than +1 in the second round and climbed 17 spots into a tie for 31st out of 89 golfers with a 151 (+7). Lewis had a run of 12 straight holes with either a par or birdie and was one-over for the round until a double-bogey on her final hole of the day. She still closed with a 75 to match her second lowest score of the season, which got her into a tie for 42nd with a 153 (+9). Zagers also had a 75 in round two and tied Gartrell for the team lead with three birdies. She ended the day tied for 24th with a 150 (+6).
Gartrell and Higgins remained the Moccasins' top two golfers overall, tied for 11th and 21st respectively with total scores of 147 (+3) and 149 (+5). Gartrell had a 76 in the afternoon and Higgins had a 77. With three more birdies, Gartrell had eight for the day, one behind Madden who was leading the tournament with nine.
Playing the tournament as an individual is Madison Wetzel, who had rounds of 77 and 80 to tie for 56th.
Madden was unable to hold her share of the first-round individual lead for Nova Southeastern, but the player she was tied with, Ann Parmerter of Dallas Baptist, did. Parmerter followed her 70 with a 71 that left her at three-under-par 141 and gave her a one-stroke lead over Nova Southeastern's Jamie Freedman, who was the only golfer to score in the 60s Monday with a second-round 68. Katharina Keilich of Indianapolis was third with a 143, just two strokes behind Parmerter, and Madden was tied with Lynn's Jenny Ayala for fourth at even-par 144.
The final round of the Barry University Invitational begins with a shotgun start Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. at Don Shula's Golf Club.