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Rutgers finishes 5th at Nittany Lion Invitational

The Rutgers women's golf team finished in fifth place at the Nittany Lion Invitational hosted by Penn State. After holding a sixth-place score at the end of the first day of competition, the Scarlet Knights fought hard to move themselves into their third straight top-five finish to start the 2017 season.

Shooting a season-low 894 (298-301-295) as a team, Rutgers had a strong showing in the 15-team tournament. Maryland took first place behind the commanding play of freshman Laura Van Respaille, who shot 212 (74-68-70) and junior Ludovica Farina who shot 216 (71-73-72). The Nittany Lions, Delaware and Princeton rounded out the top-five ahead of the Knights.

Head coach Kari Williams spoke highly of her team and is pleased to see the competition not only with other teams, but internally as well.

“We had the best overall top-to-bottom performance we've had,” Williams said. “It was fun and the competition on the team to make the starting lineup is really stiff and hard to get in the lineup so it's exciting as a coach to just to see the progress we've made.”

Senior co-captain Emily Mills led the way, placing 14th with a score of 221 (74-76-71). Her consistent play kept her in contention for a top-15 performance, sinking seven birdies in the three rounds. This is her third straight top-20 performance and the 18th of her Rutgers career.

Finishing right behind Mills was freshman Lori Char with a score of 222 (75-74-73). In her first time on the traveling team for the Knights, she ascended the leaderboards to finish in 15th.

“She stayed home last week and didn't get to go to Kansas State and I think that kind of lit a fire for her,” Williams said on Char. “She practiced and placed some great qualifying scores and earned her way into the lineup and then showed up and finished in second and was in our first position on the last day. We couldn't be more happy with her performance and the team performance overall.”

Sophomore Carrie-Ann Lee also placed in the top-20, finishing tied for 20th place with a score of 224 (78-72-74). Lee competed individually and was tied for the best individual performance with Ashni Dhruva of Penn State and Samantha Staudt of Seton Hall.

Williams spoke on what it means to have underclassmen performing this well this early in the season.

“it's exciting. The freshmen playing well makes everyone else have to play better in order to get in the lineup,” Williams said. “It makes your upperclassmen that much better, they have to keep up in a way. I'm just really proud of the whole team.”

Senior Tatum Jackson finished the tournament tied with fellow freshman teammate Harriet Allsebrook for 29th place. Jackson, after coming off of a score of 81 in her final round performance at the Sunflower Invitational last week, shot a 76 in the final round this weekend. Allsebrook also helped the Knights move up the leaderboards in the last round by shooting a 75.

After having a runner-up performance at Penn State's home course last season, junior Ashleigh Greenham fell to 45th place in the 85-competitor field. Her 230 (76-78-76) is her worst performance of the season, but with two events to go before the fall season ends, Greenham can still make an impact going forward.

“I was very proud of them, and it was at the end of a three-week stretch. It was tough, we knew it was going to be, but also the opportunity to play in our events, host our own home event, play at Kansas State and Penn State were really great opportunities and we wanted to take advantage of them,” Williams said. “It proved to be alright because we played pretty well.”

With only having two more competitions for the fall golf season, Rutgers will travel to Seattle, Washington to compete in the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational on October 10th and 11th. This will be the first time that the Knights will be competing in the event.

For updates on the Rutgers women's golf team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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