by Benny Benton
SNOW HILL, N.C. – The Barton College women's golf team fired the best round in the program's history on Tuesday as play concluded in its own fall tournament, the Cutter Creek Invitational.
As the program kicked off its sixth season, the Lady Bulldogs delivered a combined score of 316 on the Cutter Creek Golf Club layout. The total was one stroke better than the previous school record, a 317 posted in the final round of The Trojan at Walnut Creek Country Club near the end of the 2013-14 campaign.
The round was the fourth-best of the day among the 11 teams, but was not enough to move Barton out of its fifth-place starting spot. The Lady Bulldogs passed Southern Wesleyan University on Tuesday but was jumped by Limestone College.
Barton's two-day total of 645 was two strokes behind fourth-place Coker College and five behind the third-place Saints. UNC Pembroke won the tournament with a score of 621 (311-310), ten shots better than University of Mount Olive.
Sophomore Marcia Garcia led the Lady Bulldogs in their historic round, carding a 76 that helped her maintain a tie for eighth place in the 60-player field. Her two-day total of 155 was a career-low for 36 holes.
Nikki Norlin, a freshman from Innisfail, Alberta, was just one shot short of Garcia on Tuesday, posting a 77. Her two-day score of 159 earned her a tie for 14th in her first collegiate start.
Sophomore Sydney Turner followed Monday's 81 with an 80 in the final round and tied for 19th overall at 161. Fellow sophomore Kelsey Woodall provided the final counting score by matching her career-low round of 83, set in last year's league championships. Woodall's two-day score of 171 was a new 36-hole best, surpassing her 176 posted in last spring's Barton Invitational.
All seven of Barton's team members in the tournament broke 90 on Tuesday. Playing as individuals, senior Abby Glover and freshman Lexie Johnston both carded 87s, while freshman Clare McMahon shot an 89 as the fifth player in BC's team lineup. Glover's round was a career-low.
Kaitlyn Gribbon of Belmont Abbey College claimed individual medalist honors with a two-day score of 2-over 146 (73-73). UNCP's Ashlii Thompson, who was the first-round leader, finished three shots behind Gribbon in second at 149.
The tournament was the first of four on the fall schedule for the Lady Bulldogs. Barton will return to action in two weeks at the Etowah Intercollegiate in Etowah, N.C.