Sunday, February 5, 2023

Golf Finishes 6th at St. Leo Invitational

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Elizabeth Ritchie Toni Blackwell pause for wildlife, wild birds before teeing off at the St. Leo invitational in Florida. Submitted photos.

Blackwell sinks a putt. Submitted photos.

By: Hunter Locklear

The Braves traveled to Saint Leo, Fla. on Oct. 18 and 19 to play in the Saint Leo golf Invitational at Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club.

The Braves finished in 6th place after all three rounds, with 9 teams in total active.

After the first two rounds on Monday, Oct. 18, the Braves were sitting at 7th place. The Braves’ Georgia Page after the first two rounds came out carding a 9-over-par 153, which helped push the team to a 7th place hold. Page tied for the 11th place spot on the individual leaderboard after the first two rounds.

Toni Blackwell, a freshman, was tied for 39th place after the first two rounds involving a three-way tie for the position. Other notable Braves such as Samantha DeBusk and Amanda Hamrin tied for 42nd place, and Elizabeth Ritchie finished out the two-round day rounding off the total to 165.

The final round of Braves golf took place on day 2, where Toni Blackwell would post an individual best of 74 on the final round. This second day of action pushed Blackwell to a 20th place tie on the individual leaderboard, and UNCP moved up to 6th place to finish out the tournament. Blackwell moved up 19 spots from the first two rounds, with a total posted of 235 from 3 rounds.

After day two, Georgia Page had totaled out to 238 after three rounds, and tied 31st, and Amanda Hamrin had 239 totals within three rounds, and had a 33rd place finish on the leaderboard. Elizabeth Ritchie came in after round 3 tied for the 44th spot, with a total 245, and Samantha DeBusk tied out at the 46th spot. DeBusk claimed a total score of 247 after three.

“To shoot the 74 on the final round, I was able to make a few birdies and just took one shot at a time,” said Toni Blackwell, who tied for 20th on the leaderboard. “The course was very tough and challenging, the greens were especially fast and had a lot of breaking putts.”

Blackwell also mentioned the team’s mental preparedness and the mindset after each round.

“After each round, we strategize how we can improve the next round and being mentally prepared for any situation,” Blackwell said.

Georgia Page, who is a native from Sydney, Australia said it was an honor to play in the tournament.

“I know for myself and on behalf of the team, it truly meant a lot to be invited to travel to Florida and compete against such high-profile schools. Many of the schools we competed against are nationally ranked, so we knew the field was going to be highly competitive,” Page said.

“I believe the team is on the right track to great success in the championship season. We have gained great momentum regarding our practice and competition schedule, and we just have to continue this into the Spring,” said Page, regarding the championship season approaching as the fall tournaments have ended for the Braves.

The Braves will be ready to compete again in the Spring season and the team is confident in their abilities to win the conference title.

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