Jacksonville, Fla. - Western Carolina senior Ashley Thompson advanced five spots on Thursday to come home with a top five finish, leading the Catamounts to a third-place team showing overall at the Bulldog Florida Invitational concluded at the par-72, 6,003-yard Windsor Parke Golf Club.
Thompson was three-strokes better in Thursday's final round -- WCU's fifth competitive round during the spring-opening trip to Florida. The Clyde, N.C., product followed her opening-round 79 with a 4-over par, 76, on the final 18 holes for a two-day total of 155. The fifth-place finish is a career-best for Thompson, improving on a 10th-place showing from the fall semester.
Junior Amanda Floberg was among a tie for fifth after Wednesday's opening 18 holes, slipping into a tie for 16th on the final day after shooting 83 for a total of 160. Her classmate, Alyssa Morahan, was WCU's biggest mover over the final round, jumping 18 spots to finish 18th overall after shooting a team-best, 3-over par 75 on Thursday.
Rounding out WCU's scoring five was sophomore Natalia Villavicencio sliding two spots into a tie for 23rd overall at 163, and freshman Brianna Plummer who also slipped two spots on Thursday, finishing tied for 47th overall with a two-day total of 179.
Led by individual medalist Eilidh Watson, Stetson cruised to the team title by 14 strokes over runner-up, High Point, 616-to-630. The Hatters carded a team-low round of 306 on Thursday to lengthen their lead and margin of victory. Western Carolina posted the second-best final round score of 314 to finish third at 639 with Butler (641) and Lipscomb (651) rounding out the top five finishers.
Watson (147) claimed medalist honors by five strokes over a two-way tie for second between her teammate Giulia Vanderberg and Butler's Lauren Tibbets at 152.
After back-to-back tournaments this past week, Western Carolina does not return to action until late March when the Catamounts travel to Stockbridge, Ga., and the John Kirk Panther Intercollegiate. WCU finished tied for fifth at last year's tournament.