LEDBETTER, Ky. --- The Tennessee State women’s golf team opened the 2016 season with the first two rounds of the Drake Creek Invitational hosted by Murray State. Freshman Savannah Szozda posted the team low in her first collegiate competition with a 12-over, 156. Szozda will enter the final round on Tuesday tied for 27th place, six strokes out of the top 10.
The Kingston, Tenn. product used 10 pars in the morning session on her way to a 7-over, 79. In the afternoon, Szozda equaled her first round with 10 pars, but registered two birdies to cut strokes off of her morning round. On the par-4, 8th, Szozda fell short of the green from 135 out, setting up a chip in for birdie.
As a team, the Tigers fired a 94-over, 670, and sits in 11th of in the field of 12. TSU holds a one stroke lead over Eastern Illinois and is 12 strokes behind IPFW in ninth. Western Kentucky leads all teams after entering the clubhouse with a team 594, 18-over.
Natalie Spicer finished the day seven strokes behind Szozda. The senior carded an 8-over, 80 in the morning as she hit 11 fairways and 12 greens leading to 11 pars and a birdie. On the par-3, 7th, Spicer hit a 6 iron to about four feet for the easy conversion.
The second round featured three up-and-downs on her way to 10 pars as she found 11 fairways and eight greens. On 18, Spicer found herself a couple yards off the green before chipping it to four feet for her first of the round. The Springfield, Tenn. native found success again on No. 7 as she chipped to within a foot of the pin from just off the green. She closed out the afternoon session with an up-and-down chipping to two feet on her final hole, the par-5, 13th.
Freshman Morgan Rood and sophomore Paige Harlin posted scoring rounds during both sessions. Rood finished (83-91) with a 174, while Harlin posted a (87-90) 177.
Rood used 35 putts each round, as she hit 13 fairways on the day. The Lynnwood, Wash. product was long off the tee on the par-4, 12th hole during the second round and reached the green from 105 yards out on her second shot. Rood then two putted for par.
Harlin was solid off the tee box in the morning hitting 11 of 14 fairways. Harlin hit a hybrid over the green on the par-4, 15th, before chipping to 10 feet of the flag. The second-year Tiger drained the putt to save par.
Harlin improved off the tee during the second round missing just one fairway. On the par-3, 17th, Harlin hit a 9-wood to three feet of the hole and made the putt for her lone birdie of the day.
Haleigh Riley (98-92=190) cut six strokes off of her first round during her first collegiate competition. On the day, Riley hit 22 of 28 fairways and 17 greens, while notching 10 pars. The freshman carded her first par on the par-3, 5th, hitting a hybrid to 10 feet of the pin and sinking the putt.
Riley just missed her first birdie on the second to last hole of the day, the par-4, 16th. The Adams, Tenn. native hit her driver off the tee box to the middle of the fairway, setting up a hybrid to the green from 156 yards. Riley’s birdie putt missed just to the right of the cup, making the first-year settle for a tap-in par.
The Tigers will be paired with EIU and North Carolina A&T for the final round which begins at 8:30 a.m. with a shotgun start.