Pooler, Ga. - Western Carolina junior Kim Mitchell matched her career-low round of two-under par, 70, on Tuesday, advancing three spots in the final standings to finish tied for fourth at even-par, 216. Mitchell led two Catamounts inside the top 20 as WCU likewise finished in a two-way tie for fourth as a team with a three-day score of 891 (298-302-291), its lowest 54-hole tally on the year.
Tuesday marked the second time in her two years playing in Cullowhee that Mitchell fired a two-under par, 70, tallying her second-best career finish in the fourth-place tie. It was the second-straight season that the Catamounts had an individual place inside the top five, matching Mariah Hopkins' fourth-place finish a season ago.
Complete All-Southern Conference and All-Freshman teams will be announced by the league on Thursday, April 16.
WCU's fourth-place team finish was its best at the conference championship since 2011, improving upon last year's fifth-place showing. The combined score of 891 was three strokes better than WCU's previous low team score at the tournament, shooting 894 in winning the event back in 2003. It also represented the lowest 54-hole tournament team score in program history.
Mitchell rallied from an opening-hole bogey with a birdie on the par-3 fourth and an eagle on the par-4 ninth to make the final turn at two-under par on the final day. The Woodbridge, Va., native bogeyed the par-4 11th but got the stroke back one hole later with a birdie on the par-3 12th to return to two-under. She would play the remainder of the round - six holes - even with six pars to record the top five finish.
All told, Mitchell finished second in the tournament in par-3 scoring at 2.83 (-2) and was third in par-5 scoring at 4.67 (-4). Her eagle on Tuesday was one of just four turned in between three different golfers in the three-day event.
Sophomore Olivia Landino continued her climb in the standings, coming home in a tie for 18th overall after a final round, one-over par, 73, and a three-day total of 225 - the second-best, 54-hole score of her career. The Hermitage, Pa., native countered an opening-hole bogey with a birdie on the ninth hole to make the turn at even-par. The lone blemish of her back nine was a bogey on the par-4 16th leaving her at one-over for the day.
Landino, who advanced eight spots on the final day of competition, combined for 37 pars over the three-day event.
Sophomore Bethany Galloway climbed nine spots in the final standings, coming home in a five-way tie for 21st overall after matching her classmate, Landino, with a one-over 73 on Tuesday. Galloway made the turn to the back nine at one-under with eight pars and a birdie on the par-4 eighth. However, consecutive bogies on No. 12 and 13 left her at one-over for the round, her best single-day score of the tournament.
Galloway's 227 at the SoCon Championship represents her career-low, 54-hole score. With 42 pars over the 54-hole tournament, Galloway finished tied for first in the 45-golfer field.
WCU first-round leader, sophomore Ashley Thompson, came home in a tie for 30th overall after a shooting 80 for a second-straight day for a total of 231, with junior Mariah Hopkins rounding out WCU's scoring five in a tie for 32nd at 232. Thompson was poised to make the turn to the back at one-over par until a triple-bogey on the par-4 ninth left her at four-over par. She came home with a pair of double-bogies and a bogey, adding a birdie on the final hole of her round to finish eight-over. Combined, the Thompson finished with three birdies on the last day of play.
Hopkins countered five bogies with two birdies to shoot three-over par, 75, on Tuesday - the best round of her conference tournament appearance.
Furman blistered the course the Savannah Quarters Country Club, erasing WCU's tournament-record 54-hole score of 894 set in 2003. The Paladins, which took the top two spots in the individual standings, carded a three-day tournament score of 858 to cruise to the 2015 SoCon Women's Golf Championship, beating runner-up, Chattanooga, by 22 strokes, ending the Lady Mocs' run of five-straight titles.
Each of Furman's three rounds were under the previous single-round record for the event at 291 (289-284-285). The Paladins earn the SoCon's automatic bid into the NCAA tournament field.
Hard-charging Samford finished third, a stroke in arrears of UTC in third place at 881, 10-strokes ahead of the two-way tie for fourth between Western Carolina and Wofford at 891. East Tennessee State was sixth at 894, followed by UNCG (921), Mercer (923) and The Citadel (966) to round out the field.
Furman's duo of Taylor Totland and Alice Chen claimed the top two spots in the individual standings after three rounds of play. Totland carded a 54-hole score of 208 to earn individual medalist honors with a tournament record-low score. She finished four strokes better than former Catamount women's golfer Brandy Andersen's mark of 212 set in '03. Runner-up, Chen, scored a 212 to match the previous record.