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Morehead State Claims Great Smokies Intercollegiate, WCU Runner-Up

Individual co-medalist WCU freshman Taylor Allison (left) with Catamount head coach Mallory Hetzel (right) following Monday's 36 holes of the Great Smokies Intercollegiate.

Sept. 17, 2012

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Waynesville, N.C. - Morehead State carded consecutive rounds of even-par 288 and one-under par, 287, to win the rain-shortened 14th Annual Great Smokies Intercollegiate Monday at the par-72, 5,932-yard Waynesville Inn, Golf Resort and Spa. The Eagles posted a tournament-record score of one-under, 575.

Tournament host, Western Carolina, finished as the runner-up in the team standings, seven strokes in arrears after shooting 582.

With its second-place finish on Monday, WCU has finished in the top two spots in 10 of the 14 Great Smokies Intercollegiate events all-time. Morehead State became the seventh different team to win the tournament, while also marking the third different winner in the past three years.

The top two finishing teams were paced by co-individual medalists as Morehead State's Linnea Scholin and WCU freshman Taylor Allison shared the top of the leader board at the end of the day. Scholin posted rounds of 73 and a tournament-low, 67, while Allison shot even-par, 72, and 68 to both finish at four-under, 140. Allison paced the tournament field with 10 birdies on Monday.

Allison is the second-consecutive Catamount freshman to finish in first place as Sofie Kvarnstrom won the event in 2011.

Western Carolina carded a tournament-low round of 286 on Monday's second 18 holes. The 286 was tied for the fifth-best, 18-hole score in event history, matching rounds of the 2005 and '09 Catamounts as well as the 2009 Elon Phoenix and Ohio Bobcats in 2005.

Following Morehead State and WCU in the team standings, Samford just edged fellow Southern Conference member, Elon, by two strokes, 584-to-586. Western Kentucky rounded out the top five, 10 strokes behind the Phoenix at 596.

The tournament went the scheduled 36 holes, but was shortened from a two day to a one day event by tournament officials late Monday afternoon after threatening weather forecasts remained pessimistic. Teams completed their opening 18 holes and went straight into the second round, finishing the final holes just as torrential downpours moved into Western North Carolina.

During Monday morning's round, teams battled through three substantial rain showers throughout the day. It is the fourth time in tournament history that rain has affected play, but the first time the teams were played all 36 holes in one day. Rain shortened the event to one round back in 2009 with WCU and Elon sharing team honors, and previously in 2004 with WCU also claiming team honors.

Behind Allison's career-best round of four-under - which included a career-low round of four-under, 68 - three other Catamounts recorded career-best rounds. Swedish sophomores Maria Kjelldorff and defending medalist, Sofie Kvarnstrom, finished tied for 13th in the 83-golfer field by shooting two-over, 146. Kjelldorff shot rounds of 74 and a career-low 72 while Kvarnstrom carded identical rounds of 73.

Senior Michelle Bello rallied from an opening-round 78, which included a two-stroke penalty, to post her best round as a Catamount at one-over, 73. The senior from Dixon, Calif., finished with a two-round score of 151.

Rounding out WCU's finishers was freshman Mariah Hopkins, who led the squad in the season-opening Golfweek Program Challenge. In her first Great Smokies Intercollegiate, the Greensboro, N.C., native shot rounds of 77 and a career-low 75 to finish tied for 38th overall at 152.

Despite the gray morning skies and the picturesque fog that hung around the aptly named mountains in Western North Carolina, Monday's opening round had a bit brighter of an appearance. Most all of the 83 women's golfers representing 16 different schools were wearing pink shirts, skirts and ribbons in a show of support for breast cancer awareness.

At the tournament dinner on Monday night, jars were placed on each table for donations which will be made in the name of the Great Smokies Intercollegiate to Susan B. Komen for the Cure.