Macon, Ga. - Sophomore Natalia Villavicencio continued her solid start to the 2016-17 season, pacing Western Carolina with a seventh-place individual finish at the fall-concluding Idle Hour Collegiate Championship that ended Tuesday at the par-72, 6,136-yard Idle Hour Country Club.
With just four active golfers due to a pair of injuries, the Catamounts (928) finished 11th overall in the final tournament of the fall portion of their 2016-17 schedule.
Villavicencio advanced three spots in the final standings on Tuesday, charting a pair of birdies and an eagle against six bogies to shoot 2-over par, 74, for her career-low, three-round total of 223. The second-year striker from Santiago, Chile, finished tied for fifth with nine total birdies over the three-round event -- and was one of seven players to eagle as the Catamounts were one of just two teams to card multiple eagles.
Villavicencio was poised to shoot even-par in the final round, twice moving back to even par with a birdie on the par-4 ninth and the par-3 12th -- the latter with just two holes remaining. However, consecutive bogies on holes No. 13 and 14 relegated her to the 2-over round and amidst the tie for seventh-place.
Senior Ashley Thompson, who entered the Tuesday's round in a tie for 10th-place, slipped into a tie for 17th in the final standings with a 6-over par, 78. The Clyde, N.C., product played the first 11 holes of the round 1-over after a bogey on the par-5 15th, her second hole of the day. However, back-to-back bogies left her returning to the back nine with four holes to play at 3-over. A birdie on the par-4 10th brought her back to 2-over where she finished with three-straight over par for the 6-over round.
Junior transfer Alyssa Morahan posted a final round of 80 to shoot 233, tied for 34th while classmate Amanda Floberg shot 82 to shoot 245, 59th overall. Morahan finished with five birdies and an eagle at the tournament, while Floberg had three birdies, each prior to the final 18 holes.
Collectively as a team, WCU finished second in par-3 scoring, shooting 3.21 (+10) on the shorter layouts.
Tournament-host Mercer rallied to the top of the leader board to claim the team championship at their home tournament, edging the runner-up tie between Southern Miss and Toledo, two strokes in arrears. The Bears finished the three-round event at 897 with the two second-place squads carding matching scores of 899. Troy (900) finished fourth with Western Kentucky (902) rounding out the top five teams.
Two fellow Southern Conference foes were also in the field as Samford (919) finished 9th and Wofford (952) was 12th.
Mary Joiner of Western Kentucky claimed individual medalist honors by three-strokes over a two-way tie for second between Troy's Fatima Cano and Pinyada Kuvanun of Toledo. Joiner shot 3-under par, 213, and was the only golfer to break par. Cano and Kuvanun both shot even-par, 216.
The Idle Hour Collegiate Championship marks the end of the fall portion of 2016-17 schedule for WCU women's golf. The team will now turn its attention to both getting healthy and winter conditioning ahead of opening its spring calendar in early March with consecutive tournaments in Jacksonville, Fla., with the UNF Collegiate and the Bulldog Florida Invitational, hosted by Butler.