Stockbridge, Ga. - Sophomore Natalia Villavicencio carded a team-best final round of even-par, 72, on Tuesday afternoon, jumping 18 combined positions into a tie for 14th overall to lead Western Carolina (942) to a 12th-place team finish at the John Kirk Panther Intercollegiate hosted at the par-72, 6,033-yard Eagle's Landing Country Club.
Opening on the back nine, Villavicencio carded three birdies and an eagle against one bogey to make the turn to the final nine holes at 4-under par, advancing into the top 10 on the leaderboard. The Santiago, Chile, native charted a fourth birdie on the par-4 third, but five bogies left her at even-par, 72, for the round. Villavicencio finished the three-day event with a combined score of 225 (77-76-72).
Villavicencio ranked among the top 15 in both par-3 (3.08, +1) and par-4 scoring (4.20, +6), charting 11 total birdies to finish tied with three others for third. She was also one of just five players to card an eagle.
WCU junior Alyssa Morahan posted her best round of the tournament with a 5-over par, 77, on Tuesday to move up nine spots in the final order to finish tied for 55th overall at 239 (79-83-77). Three bogies among her first 13 holes left the North Reading, Mass., product 3-over par with six to play. Despite two double-bogies on the par-4 seventh and 10th, Morahan posted back-to-back birdies for the 5-over final round. She finished with a team-high 30 pars over the 54-hole event.
Rounding out WCU's scoring five were seniors Ashley Thompson amidst a two-way tie for 61st with a score of 241 and Bethany Galloway in 65th overall with a three-round score of 244 (83-75-86). Thompson carded 27 pars with Galloway just behind with 26. Junior Amanda Floberg finished tied for 76th at 251 (89-78-84).
After finishing the 54-hole tournament tied atop the team leaderboard with matching scores of 888, Murray State won a one-hole playoff over Eastern Kentucky to claim the 24th annual John Kirk Panther Intercollegiate. Nationally-ranked Kansas State finished third, two strokes in arrears at 890, followed by Winthrop (907) and Florida Gulf Coast (908) to round out the top five.
EKU's Elsa Moberly claimed individual medalist honors, edging her Colonel teammate Sofie Levin by six strokes. Moberly shot 212 while Levin finished as the runner-up with a three-round score of 218.
Western Carolina returns to action next week at a very familiar course as the Catamounts will take part in the Mimosa Hills Intercollegiate, hosted by mountain-rival, Appalachian State, at the Mimosa Hills Country Club in Morganton, N.C. WCU finished fourth at the same event in its last trip back in 2015 with a runner-up showing in 2014. The Catamounts, who co-hosted the event with App in 2009 before hosting on their own in 2010, won the tournament championship in the 2012 season.