by Benny Benton
WALLACE, N.C. – The Barton College women's golf team posted its second- and third-best rounds of the season on Monday at the Sonoco Campbell Oil Classic, 320 and 321, but could not sustain that play in Tuesday's finale, carding a 332 over the final 18 holes at River Landing Golf Club.
In doing so, the Lady Bulldogs were passed by Merrimack College, which produced a final-round 325 to edge Barton by one shot for the tournament, 972 to 973, and avoid last place in the nine-team field.
The 973 was a 54-hole record for Barton, but this week's match was just the third in program history to go three rounds and the first played outside of the conference tournament.
Freshman Lexie Johnston delivered the best round of her young collegiate career on Tuesday, an 82. The Raleigh, N.C., resident trailed sophomore Sydney Turner by one stroke in the battle for the team's best score of the day. Freshman Nikki Norlin added an 83 and sophomore Maria Garcia turned in an 86.
For the tournament, Norlin (79-79-83) and Garcia (77-78-86) both finished tied for 30th place in the 53-player field with a 54-hole total of 241. They were both one shot ahead of Turner, who recorded a 242 after rounds of 80, 81 and 81 and tied for 35th. Johnston tied for 43rd place at 249 following scores of 84, 83 and 82.
Host UNC Pembroke held on to its overnight lead with a final round of 301 and 54-hole total of 908. The Braves also had the individual medalist, as Katy Flex posted a two-stroke victory at 217 (68-76-73).
The tournament was the final match on the regular-season schedule for Barton. The Lady Bulldogs will compete in the Conference Carolinas Tournament April 23-25 at Cutter Creek Golf Club in Kinston, N.C., an event which Barton will co-host with University of Mount Olive.