EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – The Tennessee State women’s golf team is in eighth place after day one of the SIUE Double Tree Invitational. The ten-team field played under sunny skies with a slight breeze. The morning was just below 50 to start the round, but the temperatures would rise, ranging in the low-mid 70’s on the Par-72, 6,070 yard Sunset Hills Country Club in Edwardsville, Ill.
The Tigers used scores from freshman Erica Edwards and sophomores Kelly Merkel, Sarah Needleman and Laura Bremer. TSU posted a 65-over, 353 and is 13 strokes behind seventh place IPFW. Lipscomb leads the pack with a 33-over, 321.
“I thought the scores did not represent our play,” head coach Parrish McGrath said. “We hit some good shots and made the right call when needed. The team was very composed even when the scores were not there. I see us maturing as a team with each outing.”
Edwards leads the way for TSU and is in a tie for 12th with five other golfers at 10-over, 82. The freshman is just six strokes behind Valparaiso’s Erika Pfaender who shot a first round best 4-over, 76.
Edwards started play on the No. 10 tee box and proceeded to card 40 through the back nine and closed out with a 42 over the front half of the course. Edwards caught a few bad breaks along the way despite hitting 11 fairways and nine greens. The freshman made up-and-downs to save par on three and 17, as well as another to salvage bogey on the par-5, 4th.
Edwards needed 34 putts on the day, including a 4-footer on the par-5, 13th for birdie. The Murfreesboro product recorded the second best play on the par-5’s by playing Even and had the third highest amount of pars over the first 18-holes with nine.
Amelia Dap carded the second best round with an 85, but the Tigers were unable to use her score as she is playing as an individual. Despite opening play on the 18th with a par, Dap started a little slow before finding her stroke with her 3-wood. On the 13th, Dap hit her third shot from 100-yards out to three feet of the pin. The red-shirt sophomore would tap in for birdie, and along with Edwards, would combine for two of the six birdies for the round on 13.
The Murfreesboro native recorded the third best play on par-3’s during the first round at Even par. Dap is currently in 24th place in a field of 60.
Merkel marked the second lowest scoring round for the Tigers with an 89. The second-year golfer converted up-and-downs on holes three, six and 17 to save par. On the day, Merkel hit seven fairways and five greens in regulation.
Bremer and Needleman each entered the clubhouse at 91. Bremer could only find five fairways and five greens, but was able to average two putts per hole. On the par-4, 5th, the sophomore transfer stuck her second shot less than a foot from the hole from 70-yards out. Bremer would tap in to record her lone birdie of the round.
Needleman would strike the ball well throughout the first round and hit 11 fairways. The sophomore struggled a bit on the green needing 39 putts on Monday. On the tough and hilly par-4, 10th, Needleman sank a seven foot putt to save par.
Freshman Natalie Spicer shot a non-scoring 98 on Monday morning. Spicer was strong off the tee box finding 11 of 14 fairways, but was only able to hit four greens. The Springfield native was able to convert on two up-and-downs and used just 37 putts on the day.
The final round of 18-holes is scheduled for Tuesday morning with an 8:00am shotgun start.