CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State women’s golf team resumed play after a two week break from competition at the F&M Bank APSU Intercollegiate on Monday. The Tigers teamed up to shoot a 51-over, 339 at the Par-71, 5,760-yard, Clarksville Country Club.
Lipscomb leads the tournament at 17-over, 305 and is trailed by Tennessee Tech and the host, Austin Peay, who each fired a 25-over, 313. TSU sits in eighth place heading into the final day of play.
Kelly Merkel led the way for TSU by carding a 5-over, 77, leaving her tied for eighth in the field of 49 golfers. The senior is just four strokes behind Lipscomb’s Samantha Griffith who entered the clubhouse with a 1-over, 73.
Merkel used a consistent game on Monday by recording 15 pars. The Columbia, Tenn., product hit 10-of-14 fairways, 15 greens and used 36 putts as she recorded her low round of the season. On the par-4, 14th, Merkel found the trees to the right of the fairway off the tee box. After punching out, the fourth-year chipped up to seven feet of the cup. Merkel converted the up-and-down as she drained the downhill, right-to-left, putt to save par.
Natalie Spicer found herself in the rough off the box on the par-4, 1st. The junior used a 9-iron to get of trouble and knocked the ball to eight feet of the flag. Spicer found the hole for her lone birdie of the day. Spicer recorded eight pars, four of which were up-and-downs and hit five fairways, six greens and used 32 putts.
Paige Harlin struggled a bit in her second tournament of her collegiate career, but bounced back on Monday. On the par-5, 13th, Harlin used a 3-wood on her second shot from the fairway to 90 yards of the green. The freshman just missed her first eagle as her third shot stopped an inch away from the hole, setting up a tap-in for birdie. Harlin posted the third scoring mark for the Tigers with an 88.
Senior Sarah Needleman scored in the final spot for TSU with a 91. Needleman needed 38 putts on the day while hitting nine fairways and seven greens.
Sophomore Imani Stingley carded a non-scoring 96 as she hit three fairways, two greens and used 40 putts over the first round.
The Tigers will play the final 18 rounds on Tuesday morning beginning with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m.
Day One - Results
Kelly Merkel - 77
Natalie Spicer – 83
Paige Harlin - 88
Sarah Needleman – 91
Imani Stingley - 96