March 19, 2013
Ocala, Fla. - Sophomore Maria Kjelldorff carded three-consecutive rounds of four-over par 76, finishing tied for 18th to pace Western Carolina to a ninth-place finish at the MSU Ocala Spring Invitational held at the par-72, 6,113-yard Juliette Falls Golf Resort. WCU posted rounds of 312, 303 and 313 for a 54-hole score of 928, the team's best three-round event score of the season.
Kjelldorff turned in her season-best, 54-hole score at 228. It was the second-best three-round event score of the Saltsjobaden, Sweden, native. Kjelldorff finished tied for third in the event with 38 pars as the Catamounts carded 150 pars in the tournament.
Freshman Mariah Hopkins, who matched Kjelldorff stroke-for-stroke over the first two days, carded a final round 78 to slip into a tie for 29th in the final standings at 230, matching her career-best three-round tournament score. Hopkins also shot 230 (76.67 average) at the Starmount Fall Classic.
Freshman Taylor Allison finished tied for 40th with a 233 (79-75-79) while classmate Fatima Gonzalez-Carriles slipped into a tie for 56th in the final standings at 239 (81-76-82). Senior Michelle Bello rounded out the WCU side, finishing tied for 81st overall, carding her best round on Tuesday at 80 to finish with a three-day total of 255.
Mercer led the event from start to finish, edging team runner-up, Stetson, by seven strokes with an 883 against 890. Toledo finished third at 893, seven strokes ahead of tournament host Morehead State in fourth with Daytona State College rallying to finish out the top five at 905.
McKayla Anderson of McNeese State overcame an opening round six-over par 78 to post rounds of 67 and 70 to win the individual medalist honors by two strokes over second-place Katie Rice of Morehead State. Anderson finished the 54-hole tournament at one-under, 215, with Rice shooting 217. Second-round leader, Mercer's Lacey Fears, shot 77 on her final 18 holes to finish third at 218 with Toledo's Katie Hoops finishing fourth at 219, just ahead of a three-way tie for fifth place.
Western Carolina returns to action March 24-25 at the Lowcountry Invitational, hosted by Wofford College at the Moss Creek Golf Club in Hilton Head, S.C., the site of the 2013 Southern Conference Women's Golf Championship. This weekend's tournament will be played on the South course while the conference championship will be contested on the North course.
The Catamounts return to the tournament after a two-year hiatus after winning the first two team championships in event history as a co-host. WCU won the first event over Wofford in the spring of 2009 by six strokes before edging James Madison by two strokes a year later.