Rutgers finishes sixth in nine-team invite
Despite an upsetting first round on Monday in the Fighting Camel Classic in Buies Creek, North Carolina, the Rutgers women’s golf team kept its composure entering the second round, boasting a tournament-best improvement in scores between rounds one and two.
The seemingly rectified Scarlet Knights entered Tuesday’s final round in sixth place.
But another disappointing performance by Rutgers, marked by inconsistent play, saw the Knights unable to improve in their final round and place sixth in the nine-team field.
After surprising all nine teams in the first round with poor play, head coach Kari Williams noted her team’s improvement in the second round.
“The team recommitted to their game plan, and I think they all knew they had to play better,” Williams said. “I think in the second round they were more comfortable with the Bermuda grass, which resulted in not as many big scores.”
The top-five teams remained in the same position throughout the tournament: Campbell College (+31), High Point (+44), Nova Southeastern (+46), Old Dominion (+47) and Toledo (+52).
Shuffling far behind were Rutgers (+84), Carson-Newman (+89), Marshall (+98) and Radford (+104).
High Point freshman Sarah Bae led the 52-player pack, compiling nine birdies for an overall score of 220 (+4). Campbell sophomores Lisabeth Brooks and Nadine White finished in second place with an overall score of 221 (+5), tying High Point’s freshman Tan Cheeranont.
In a tournament where the spotlight is centered on the dominant performance of Campbell and High Point’s underclassmen, the Knights’ group of underclassmen also had solid showings.
Rutgers freshman Emily Mills paced a struggling Knights squad. After first and second round play, Mills led the team tied for 15th before wrapping up her final round tied for 13th for a 229 score (+13).
Her performance garnered praise from an impressed Williams.
“Emily opened her college career with a win and closed the fall season with a really strong performance,” Williams said. “She struggled for a couple tournaments, but she continued to work hard and play through it, which is very difficult. She has a great work ethic, and she remained positive during most difficult parts of not scoring well. I’m really proud and happy she was able to end on a positive note.”
Freshman Tatum Jackson highlighted the Knights’ strong second round with a hole-in-one, acing a par-three 145-yard third hole, while sophomore Taylor Clark tied for 32nd, scoring a 239 (+239) and finishing second for the Knights.
Williams praised Clark’s consistency.
“She has been very steady for us this fall and has posted some really good scores. She does a really good job managing her game,” Williams said. “We should continue to expect good things from her.”
Rutgers’ spring season begins March 2 at the Kiawah Island Invitational in Kiawah Island, S.C.
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