Sept. 16, 2013
Waynesville, N.C. - Samford had three golfers post scores under par including two in the upper 60s on Monday as the Bulldogs hold a two-stroke advantage over tournament host, Western Carolina, in the 15th annual Great Smokies Intercollegiate being held at the par-72, 5,932-yard Waynesville Inn, Golf Resort and Spa.
Samford fired the lowest 18-hole score in tournament history on Monday, shooting 281 to eclipse the previous tournament record of 282 carded by Gardner-Webb in the second round of the 2011 Great Smokies Intercollegiate. The Bulldogs are just ahead of the Catamounts, which posted a school record-low round of 283, one stroke better than its previous mark of 284 recorded in the opening round of the same event back in 2008. WCU's score of 283 is the third-best, 18-hole score in event history.
WCU did not count a score above even-par on Monday.
Bailey Gray of Samford and Mercer's Macy McRaney lead the 67-golfer field, tied atop the leader board with matching scores of five-under par, 67 - a mark which is tied with four others for the fifth-lowest 18-hole score in tournament history. Gray carded five birdies on her opening round while McRaney finished with four birdies and overcame one bogey with an eagle on the par-5, 430-yard 18th.
Gray's Samford teammate, Sydney Needham, is in a two-way tie for third with Loretta Giovannettone from Methodist, both just one stroke in arrears after shooting 68 on Monday.
All told, a combined 18 golfers shot even-par or better on Monday with five shooting in the 60s. Those 18 golfers are all within five strokes of the individual lead entering Tuesday's final round.
Behind Samford (281) and Western Carolina (283), future Southern Conference member, Mercer, is third after the opening round after the Bears fired a team 285. Methodist sits in fourth place at 292, two strokes ahead of the two-way tie for fifth between Eastern Kentucky and Appalachian State at 294.
Western Kentucky is in seventh as a team at 298 with Bowling Green (306), Presbyterian (310) and UAB (314) rounding out the top 10. Two-time tournament champion, Tennessee Tech (1999, 2000) is 11th at 315 with SoCon-member, The Citadel, rounding out the field at 322.
For the host Catamounts, defending individual medalist Taylor Allison and newcomer Kristin Swindell are tied for sixth in the standings after both shooting two-under par, 70. Allison was poised to threaten her individual-low round carded in the same event a season ago as she was four-under par through 15 holes on Monday. However, bogies on two of her final three holes left her two-under for the round. The Elizabeth City, N.C., native sank three birdies in a row at the turn.
Swindell, a redshirt sophomore transfer from Florida Gulf Coast, birdied the par-4, 385-yard ninth hole to shoot 70. The Bradenton, Fla., product countered four bogies with six birdies, matching Allison for the tournament lead through 18 holes. The two-under par, 70, is the individual low for Swindell in her WCU career.
Transfer Kim Mitchell is a third Catamount sitting inside the individual top 10, tied for ninth-place with a one-under par, 71. The Woodbridge, Va., native charted three birdies against two bogies - both coming on par-5s - in the opening round. Freshman Olivia Landino sits amidst a tie for 12th-place after shooting even-par, 72. The Hermitage, Pa., native carded a double-bogey on her first hole of the day before shooting two-under on the remaining 17 holes.
Rounding out WCU's scoring five was sophomore Mariah Hopkins who charted one birdie in shooting three-over par, 75, to stand tied for 25th overall.
Two Catamount freshmen made their collegiate debut on Monday playing as individuals. Local product, Ashley Thompson posted three birdies playing just minutes from her hometown of Clyde, N.C. The former Pisgah High standout is tied for 22nd overall with a two-over par, 74. Bethany Galloway, a freshman from Charlotte, N.C., is tied for 60th overall shooting 82 in her first college tournament.
As the participants did a season ago, many of the teams on Monday wore their varying degrees of pink attire and pink ribbons as a show of solidarity in support of raising breast cancer awareness. In addition, several teams also wore teal ribbons as a sign of support for Auburn University head women's golf coach, Kim Evans, in her fight with ovarian cancer.
Play concludes on Tuesday with a shotgun start set for 9:00 am. Complete results will be made available through CatamountSports.com, as well as through social media outlets such as Facebook (fb.com/catamountsports) and Twitter (@catamounts).