Waynesville, N.C. – Sophomore transfer Madison Isaacson edged two competitors including freshman teammate Bailee Twiford in a one-hole playoff to claim individual medalist honors while pacing Western Carolina to a two-stroke edge over mountain-rival Appalachian State at the 2019 Judaculla Cup which concluded Tuesday afternoon at the par-72, 5,932-yard Waynesville Inn Golf Resort.
Isaacson, Twiford, and first-round leader Abby Bolt of Appalachian State finished the regulation 36 holes tied at even-par, 144, after both Catamount golfers shot 1-under par, 71, in the final round. Bolt meanwhile slipped by four strokes into the deadlock after shooting 2-under 70 on the first day. Twiford was first to the clubhouse, unseating senior teammate Brianna Plummer (145), who was competing as an individual, from the atop the leader board midway through Tuesday afternoon. She managed to hold the advantage until the final pairing came through the 18th green.
Playing together in the top flight, Isaacson and Bolt turned in two-day tallies of 144 to set the stage for the three-player playoff contested on the par-5, 430-yard 18th hole. Bolt's second shot sailed over the green where she chipped onto the dance floor before missing a birdie putt, ultimately carding par. WCU’s Twiford recovered out of a fairway bunker to also have a shot at birdie, missing her mid-range putt before likewise carding par.
Isaacson stuck her second shot from the 18th fairway to around 25 feet from the pin where she just missed a putt for eagle that would have given her the medal outright. The Greensboro, N.C., product recovered to sink a 4-footer for birdie to claim medalist honors.
Overall, WCU made its two-stroke advantage after Monday’s opening round hold up, finishing with a 36-hole score of 596 while the Mountaineers posted a team 598. Fellow Southern Conference foe, The Citadel, finished third overall at 643 at the small, three-team event.
Tuesday’s team victory is the first in the career of Western Carolina second-year head coach Courtney Gunter, while also marking WCU’s first since 2014 which came at the same venue. The Catamounts won the final Great Smokies Intercollegiate in 2014 at the Waynesville Inn Golf Resort in Waynesville, N.C.
Plummer, playing unattached, carded a career-low round of 2-under par 70 on Tuesday, matching Bolt for the best 18-hole score of the tournament to post a fourth-place finish. She paced the field in par-4 scoring, finishing at even-par. Plummer was followed closely by junior Harper Gilreath with a two-day score of 149 in fifth-place, five strokes in arrears of the lead trio while also playing as an individual. Gilreath, a product of Anderson, S.C., carded two of the three eagles in the tournament.
Rounding out WCU’s golfers in the field were individual competitors in sophomore Cassidy Chambers, tied with White and Martin for 10th-place, and junior Cameron Wood in 15th with a two-day score of 159.
Western Carolina returns to action in two weeks, traveling to Clarksville, Tenn., to play in the F&M Bank Intercollegiate, hosted by Austin Peay at the Clarksville Country Club. The tournament will feature 36 holes of continuous play on Monday, Sept. 30 with the final round 18 holes for Tuesday, Oct. 1.
2019 Judaculla Cup:
1 – Western Carolina – 293-303 = 596 +20
2 – Appalachian State – 295-303 = 598 +22
3 – The Citadel – 322-321 = 643 +67
T1 – Madison Isaacson – 73-71 = 144 E
T1 – Bailee Twiford – 73-71 = 144 E
T10 – Maya White – 73-81 = 154 +10
T10 – Hazel Martin – 74-80 = 154 +10
14 – Victoria Ladd – 77-81 = 158 +14
4 – Brianna Plummer* – 75-70 = 145 +1
5 – Harper Gilreath* – 73-76 = 149 +5
T10 – Cassidy Chambers* – 76-78 = 154 +10
15 – Cameron Wood* – 76-78 = 159 +15
* – individual competitor