Judge Claims Top 20 Finish At A-Sun Championships
New Smyrna Beach, Fla. - The USC Upstate women's golf team turned in its second-lowest round of the season in the final round of the A-Sun Championships at the Venetian Golf Club Wednesday afternoon to move up a position in the final standings, while junior Jennifer Judge claimed a top 20 finish.
Upstate entered the final round in ninth place, five strokes back of Belmont in eighth. Paced by Cheryl Lo's 75 and a pair of 77s carded by Natalie Buch and Judge, the Spartans turned in a 310 to jump ahead of Belmont, which shot a 316. Upstate finished the tournament with a 953 total, one stroke ahead of Belmont at 954. The 310 shot by Upstate was the second-lowest of the season after Upstate turned in a 307 in the second round of the Holiday Inn Express Hatter Classic in nearby DeLand, Fla., back in the fall.
Judge's 77 gave her a 227 total, good enough for a tie for 17th in the individual standings. It marks the best finish of any Upstate player in the two-year history of playing in the event. Richelle Wedzik claimed a tie for 18th last year. Upstate also topped last year's ninth-place finish in the championship.
"Jennifer struggled today but made enough good shots and a few long putts for birdie to have a great tournament," said Upstate head coach Todd Lawton.
Stetson began the day in sixth place, 12 strokes back of tournament leader East Tennessee State. By the end of the day, the Hatters stormed back with a 286 on Wednesday to win the A-Sun Championship. The Hatters totaled 884. Kennesaw State finished second with an 888 total and was followed by Campbell (889), ETSU (889), Florida Gulf Coast (890), Jacksonville (915), Mercer (915), Upstate (953), Belmont (954) and Lipscomb (1032). ETSU's Laura Jansone posted a 1-under-par 71 on Wednesday to win the individual championship.
Upstate was able to move up one position after getting consistent play from all five players. In addition to the 77 both Judge and Buch turned in and Lo's team-low 75, Johanna Ebenhag carded an 81. Marissa Clontzturned in an 86.
"Cheryl's score today was so good because she fought through some pain and stayed focused and determined," said Upstate head coach Todd Lawton. "Natalie was 1-under through her first three holes and played so steady it was exciting. JoJo once again played a stellar back nine and helped us post a really strong final round.
"I'm proud of everyone. To come from five-down today and move up in the standings shows promise. It was a true team effort and the work ethic this week was strong. Coach Halkett (assistant coach Sandy Halkett) was a great help on the course and really provided lots of encouragement and support."