DeLand, Fla. – The USC Upstate women's golf team shaved 12 strokes off of its team score from the first round to the second and stands fifth after the first day of the Hatter Classic at Victoria Hills Golf Club Monday afternoon.
Upstate opened the tournament with a 324 in the first round Monday morning, then shot a 312 in the second round Monday afternoon. The Spartans own a 636 total and are fifth on the leaderboard heading into Tuesday's final round.
"The key was determination," said Upstate assistant coach Audrey Church. "We struggled a good bit as a team on the greens throughout the entire day. However, it was extremely encouraging to see them stay positive, not letting bad holes or unfortunate breaks become roadblocks. I am proud of the girls for shedding 12 strokes off their first round to their second round today. You can truly feel the energy and excitement from them going into tomorrow. They are determined to wrap up the tournament and fall season with a strong effort tomorrow."
Upstate owns a 12-stroke advantage over Florida Atlantic and trails A-Sun rival Florida Gulf Coast by just five shots heading into Tuesday's action.
Stetson, the host of the tournament and a member of the A-Sun, owns a 36-hole total of 604 and leads the tournament by 12 strokes over Daytona State (616). A-Sun foe Jacksonville is third at 317 and is followed by FGCU (631), Upstate (636), Florida Atlantic (648), Seminole State (654) and A-Sun rival Lipscomb (660).
Individually, Taylor Pleier (Spartanburg, S.C.) is the top Upstate golfer through the first two rounds. She is tied for 11th after turning in rounds of 80 and 76 and recorded the only eagle in tournament play today. She is just two strokes out of a top 10 finish and six shots out of fifth.
"Taylor simply struck the ball consistently well," said Church. "She had the only eagle in the field today, which helped create and continue her momentum to stand tied for 11th individually."
Rachel Lewis (Llanishen, Wales) turned in rounds of 80 and 79 to finish the day with a 159 total and is tied for 19th. She gave the Spartans two players in the top 20 after the first day. Brittany Lowe (Spartanburg, S.C.) rebounded from an 84 in the first round to shave eight strokes off her score and shoot a 76 in the second round. She is 21st with a 160 total.
"Brittany had a great turnaround," said Church. "She struggled on and around the greens during her first round, but was determined to change that in her second round."
Amanda Hall (Tega Cay, S.C.), coming off a hole-in-one in her practice round on Sunday, opened with rounds of 81 and 80 and is 22nd with a 161 total. Kristi Goodman (Easley, S.C.) opened with rounds of 88 and 94.
Stetson's Alex Buelow carded rounds of 72 and 71 to take the individual lead at 1-under-par. She will head into the final round with a two-stroke lead.