ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA. – Florida Southern got matching scores of one-under-par 71 from Amanda Gartrell and Madi Wetzel on Sunday to finish the first round of the World Golf Invitational in second place behind only 3rd-ranked Nova Southeastern.
The Moccasins, who are ranked No. 10 to start the spring portion of the schedule, shot 300 as a team, putting them 12 shots behind the Sharks. In addition to the 71s by Gartrell and Wetzel, the Mocs got a 77 from Tori Higgins and an 81 from Loren Perez. Nathalie Svensson was their fifth golfer with an 89.
Nova Southeastern had all five of its golfers in the 70s, and all four counters were at 75 or better, led by Sofia Garcia Austt, who shot a five-under-par 67 to sit at the top of the leaderboard. That was the best single-round score ever posted in the seven-year history of the tournament. Austt was four strokes better than the field, with Gartrell and Wetzel two of the four golfers tied for second behind her. The others were West Georgia's Franziska Bremm and Savannah Art & Design's Alessia Avanzo.
Higgins was tied for 25th, Perez was tied for 59th, and Svensson was 94th. Gartrell was tied for second with five birdies in round one, Higgins was one of three golfers with four birdies, and Wetzel had three on her way to the best round of her college career.
Shelby Lewis fired a 78 playing as an individual, was tied for 34th overall and was second among eight golfers competing outside of their respective teams.
While Nova Southeaster was 12 shots out in front, Florida Southern was one of five teams within four shots of each other between second and fifth place. The Moccasins' 300 put them just two shots ahead of No. 15 Lee, three ahead of host Flagler, and four ahead of No. 21 Saint Leo and Columbus State.
The tournament concludes with round two on Monday at the Slammer and Squire at 8 a.m., with the Moccasins among the last to tee off as a team at 9:41.