Ebenhag Records Upstate's First Ace, Lewis Tied For Lead At Great Smokies
Waynesville, N.C. – It was a pair of firsts for the USC Upstate women's golf program on Saturday at the Great Smokies Intercollegiate. On her first swing of the day, Johanna Ebenhag recorded a hole-in-one, the first for the Upstate women's golf program. Rachel Lewis fired a school record 3-under-par 69 and is tied for the tournament lead heading into the final round on Sunday to pace the Spartans.
Lewis, a freshman from Llanishen, Wales, not only broke the single-round school record, she bested it by three strokes. Her 69 topped the record of 72 held by four different people. Prior to Lewis' 69, Audrey Church, Cheryl Lo, Julie Miller and Richelle Wedzik each turned in 72's in their careers to share the record. Lewis is tied for the tournament lead with Jacksonville State's Lucia Fernandez, UAB's Jaime Ritter and Tennessee Tech's Katherine Bell.
Not to be outdone, Ebenhag (Gothenberg, Sweden) scored a hole-in-one on her first hole of the day. She knocked in an 8-iron on the par-3 8th on the Blue Ridge Course at the Waynesville Inn Golf Resort. The ball hit the green and rolled into the cup for her first hole-in-one in college competition and the third in her life.
"I am really happy and excited that two records were broken today," said Head Coach Todd Lawton. "I think they are both things that the program can get excited about."
"It was a surprise," said Ebenhag, a senior. "I knew I hit a good shot and that it was going toward the flag, but I didn't think it would go in. When it did, (Assistant) Coach (Sandy) Halkett and I just looked at each other and said 'oh my gosh.' It was exciting."
Lewis' 69 helped the Spartans to a team total of 310. The Spartans stand tied for 18th out of 24 teams. Jacksonville State leads the tournament after turning in a 289. The Gamecocks will take a five-stroke lead into the final round. Bowling Green State is second after carding a 294 on the day. Appalachian State and Old Dominion are third at 299 and are followed in the top 10 by UAB (300), Western Carolina (300), Elon (300), William & Mary (300), Radford (301) and Middle Tennessee (302).
"This golf course demands that you hit good shots," said Lawton. "It also rewards good shots. We had three players who came out and played really solid golf. We could have finished a little lower, but I am thrilled with how we have progressed over the last week or so."
Upstate is tied for 18th with Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD). The Spartans trail Winthrop by a stroke and are just eight strokes out of a top 10 finish. Charleston Southern is two shots back of Upstate in 20th place.
Lewis went out with a 2-under 34 and carded a 35 on the back nine to shoot the school record round. She had five birdies on the day. The 69 not only broke a school record, but it also was a personal best for the freshman who's previous low was a 73.
"I hit every shot the way I wanted to," said Lewis. "It was a successful day. Most of my approach shots were around 8-10 feet from the hole. The greens here are a lot like back home. I was able to put my tee shots on the fairway and I was able to go after my approach shots. I was just relaxed and I just played golf."
Upstate's Amanda Hall (Tega Cay, S.C.) opened the tournament with a 77 and stands tied for 52nd. Ebenhag turned in a 78 and is one stroke back of Hall in a tie for 67th. Taylor Pleier (Spartanburg) shot an 86, while Madison Bryant (Chapin, S.C.) carded a 90.