EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – The Tennessee State women’s golf team finished ninth at the SIUE Double Tree Invitational. The Tigers improved on its first round score by four strokes, finishing with a 349 at the Par-72, 6,070 yard Sunset Hills Country Club in Edwardsville, Ill. The day started off breezy and cold with the wind picking up and remaining throughout second round play.
Kelly Merkel led TSU with an 84 and was followed by Amelia Dap and Laura Bremer at 87. Tigers first round leader, Erika Edwards, shot an 88 on Tuesday and was trailed by Sarah Needleman (90) and Natalie Spicer (91). Merkel, Bremer, Edwards and Needleman teamed up for the scoring for TSU, while Dap’s score was non-countable due to her play as an individual.
Valparaiso won the team title out of a ten team field, while Sami Khan of Lipscomb claimed the individual title out of 60.
Merkel (89-84=173) was able to post a yeam-leading 12 over, 84 after a rough start. Merkel would settle in after opening the day with a double and a triple bogey on the first two holes. The sophomore went on to hit 10 of 11 fairways and seven greens. Merkel’s solid play continued on the greens as she averaged less than two putts on the day. Merkel used just 33 putts for the second round in a row.
Dap (85-87=172) carded her best two-round score of her career in her first tournament of the year. On the par-4, 7th, Dap used a driver off the box to 157-yards in and found the green in two. The redshirt-sophomore two putted for par. The wind came into play on the par-4, 10th, knocking down Dap’s second shot short into the left bunker by the green. The Murfreesboro native used an up-and-down to set up a tap in for par.
Bremer (91-87=178) registered the second highest score for TSU on Tuesday behind four up-and-downs and 35 putts. The sophomore transfer averaged under two-putts a hole for the tournament. After a 45 on the front nine, Bremer was able to settle in on the backside scoring a 42. Bremer matched her day one marks with five fairways and five greens.
Edwards (82-88=170) found success with three consecutive birdies from holes 14-16 and concluded play with the third highest amount made over the two-day event. The string started as Edwards found the green with a pitching wedge on her second shot on the par-4 hole. The freshman found the bottom of the cup from 15-feet away. Edwards followed with a 7-iron off the tee box on the 147-yard, par-3, sticking the shot a foot away for a tap-in birdie. The Murfreesboro product used a pitching wedge into the green and made a 12-footer on the par-4, 16th. Edwards finished the day with 11 fairways and 10 greens.
Needleman (91-90=181) was once again solid off the tee box for the second straight day finding nine fairways, 20 for the tournament. On the stingy par-4, 2nd, Needleman hit a sand shot from a steep greenside bunker to three inches of the hole to save par on a hole that surrendered just three birdies over the two-day event. The long uphill par-4, 9th, played as the third toughest hole of the invitational with over 80 above pars. After leaving her second shot short, Needleman used an up-and-down to set up a 10-foot putt saving par.
One group before Needleman saw a Tiger record one of the four birdies on No. 9. Spicer (98-91=189) drained a 25-foot putt after finding the green with a 6-iron approach. The freshman cut seven strokes off her first round score with eight fairways and eight greens.
The Tigers return home for a head-to-head matchup with Lipscomb. The two teams will play 18-holes on Friday, Oct. 4 at the Harpeth Hills Golf Course.
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