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SNOW HILL — Challenged by head coach Ashley Leonard to “go make a statement,” the Barton College women’s golf team responded by firing a program-record 310 for its low four individuals in gusting winds and seizing second place after Sunday’s first round of the NCAA Division II Conference Carolinas Women’s Golf Championship at Cutter Creek Golf Club in Greene County.
“In these conditions, that’s super for us,” Leonard said.”
The performance left the Lady Bulldogs just three shots off the top pace of favored Limestone (South Carolina) College going into Monday’s second of three rounds over the par-72, 5,864-yard layout.
Following Limestone (303) and the Lady Bulldogs are Erskine (313), North Greenville University (317) and Converse (320) in completing the top five.
Barton junior Sydney Turner offered a substitute word for Barton’s “statement” performance.
“We expected to come out and make some noise,” she exclaimed, “and I think we did.”
Turner’s performance of 3-over-par 75, matching her career low, provided the loudest noise. She stood 3-under par after eight holes and her 35-40 left her deadlocked for second place. Turner was paired with 2017 individual champion Nicole Robertson from King (Tennessee) University and matched her 75.
“I really didn’t think about it all that much,” Turner said of the pairing. “I just tried to focus on shot to shot. I think I played really well for the conditions.”
The gals didn’t deal with rain showers, but they battled strong winds. Despite the conditions, Turner birdied Nos. 1, 3 and 4 before encountering a double bogey at No. 9. She added a birdie at No. 14 but settled for a 3-over round as the result of a double bogey on the menacing No. 18 layout — where the female participants faced a snarling wind.
“I was trying to keep it going, but I couldn’t make it happen,” Turner reviewed. “But I am very happy. This was a brand new experience for me. It was eye-opening to know I could do that in pretty tough conditions.”
Commented Leonard of Turner: “She’ll be disappointed. But the weather turned completely once we made the turn. (The team) going from 6-over on the front to 16-over on the back tells you how much harder it was playing. I think once Sydney sees all the scores coming in, she’ll be pretty pleased with her round.”
Turner75 trails Limestone’ s Victoria Ross by five shots.
Barton junior Maria Garcia stands seventh in the 50-player field with a 77. Clare McMahon carded a 78 and Kelsey Woodall posted an 80. Sophomore Nikki Norlin came in with an 84 after shooting a 38 on the front nine.
The Lady Buldogs look for more precedents the next two days.
“I just want to play the best golf that I know I can,” Turner expressed. “I will not be thinking about what I shot today; it’ll be shot for shot.”