Feb. 11, 2014
Orlando, Fla. - Western Carolina completed play in the spring season-opening UCF Challenge on Tuesday, placing 19th overall (909). Redshirt sophomore Kristin Swindell led the Catamount scoring five in a tie for 58th overall after the 54-hole event came to a close.
It is the third time this season Swindell has led WCU, matching teammate Taylor Allison for the team lead through the first six tournaments.
Swindell countered five holes over par with a pair of birdies on Tuesday, closing with a team-high nine birdies over the 54-hole event. The Bradenton, Fla., native played 10 of the final 18 holes at even or one-under par. Yet, consecutive scores of bogey and double-bogey on the eighth and ninth holes left her three-over par with six to play. She signed her card with a final round four-over par, 76, for a three-day total of seven-over par, 223.
Sophomores Kim Mitchell and Taylor Allison likewise shot four-over par, 76, on Tuesday. Mitchell concluded her tournament at 227, tied for 72nd overall, while Allison was tied for 80th-place a stroke in arrears at 228. Mitchell charted four birdies while Allison had five including two on Tuesday.
Rounding out WCU's scoring five was freshman Olivia Landino in a tie for 95th (237) and sophomore Mariah Hopkins in 99th overall at 241. Landino shot the best final round for WCU, tallying three birdies including back-to-back one-under scores on holes No. 3 and 4 to shoot three-over par, 75, while Hopkins finished with an 82.
Guided by individual medalist Fanny Cnops, tournament host UCF claimed the team championship as both led wire-to-wire in the spring-opening event. The Knights edged hard-charging No. 22 Iowa State by a stroke, 857-to-858. The Cyclones were in a two-way tie for eighth after the opening 18 holes but finished the final two days nine strokes better than the 24th-ranked UCF side.
Miami (Fla.) finished third, seven strokes off the pace at 864 with No. 21 Kentucky finishing fourth at 866. Minnesota and GRU Augusta rounded out the top five finishers in a tie for fifth place at 869.
All three of Cnops' rounds were under par at her home tournament, shooting 67, 70 and 71 (208) to win by three strokes over GRU Augusta's Casey Kennedy (211). East Tennessee State's Sian Evans (212) finished third with rounds of 73, 67 and 72.
Western Carolina returns to Florida for its next two seasonal events in just under a month. The Catamounts will play in the Univ. of North Florida Invitational in early March, as well as the JMU Eagle Landing Invitational - both in Jacksonville, Fla. - March 14-16.