RSU sweeps titles at Diffee Ford Lincoln Invite, UCO surges into second

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Edmond, Okla. – The Rogers State women’s golf team and junior Jess Green won the team and individual titles at the Diffee Ford Lincoln Invitational at Kickingbird Golf Course. RSU edged the University of Central Oklahoma in a playoff for the team title.

The Hillcats picked up their second victory of the season, with their first coming in September, as the Hillcats won the 21st Annual NSU Women’s Fall Classic. The Hillcats shot a 304 in the final round while UCO closed with a 295 to force the tie. The two teams went to into a playoff where the Hillcats came out victorious.

Green won the invitational with a score of 144 after two rounds of 2-over 72. Grace Williams placed in the top five for the Hillcats finishing tied for fifth with a score of 149, shooting a 74-75. Raquel Flores tied for 20th at 154. Sydney Murray and Marybeth Bellnap each shot 157.

The Hillcats will host their home tournament on March 16-17 at the Bailey Ranch Golf Club in Owasso, Oklahoma.

Freshmen Susana Olivares and Emma Shelley spurred a final-round comeback that allowed Central Oklahoma to tie for first place. Olivares fired an even-par 70 and Shelley added a 73 as the Bronchos knocked 13 shots off Monday’s’ first-round score in closing with a 295. It was the best round of the day by nine strokes and allowed UCO to finish with a 603 total.

Central jumped from fifth to a tie for first with it’s final-round surge, though Rogers State would take the championship trophy in a playoff. Southwestern Oklahoma was third in the 17-team field at 610, followed by Oklahoma City (616) and Arkansas Tech (618).

“I’m really proud of the way we played today,” head coach Michael Bond said. “The girls were ready to go and we made up a lot of ground, especially on the back nine. It was a great team effort, but Susana and Emma were exceptional today.”

Madison O’Dell and Sydney Roberts both shot 76 for UCO, while Faith Stewart added a 79.

Olivares offset a second-hole bogey with a birdie on the par-3 sixth in shooting a front-nine 35 and then got to two-under with birdies on the par-4 10th and par-5 12th holes. The rookie sensation dropped back to even par with two bogeys down the stretch, but still tied for second in the individual race with a 147 total. Olivares has finished in the top 10 in all seven tournaments this year.

Roberts tied for eighth with a 150 total, following up Monday’s 74 with a final-round 76. She shot 39 on the front and 37 on the back Tuesday. Shelley ended up tied for 11th at 152 after her closing 73. She had a 3-over 38 on the front nine before rebounding with an even-par 35 on the back.

It was the sixth straight top-four finish for the Bronchos, who travel to Hartsville, S.C. next week for the Coker Women’s Spring Invitational.

Behind an individual runner-up finish from Zoe Morton, Southwestern Oklahoma State placed third.Morton was the first-round leader at the tournament before dropping back to second on Tuesday and finishing three shots behind Jessica Green of Rogers State for the top spot. Morton had rounds of 71 and 76 to finish seven-over par for the event. Rebecca Lau was six shots behind and tied for 14th while Georgia Miller fired two rounds in the 70’s and tied for 24th at 15-over. The Lady Bulldogs finished seven strokes behind Central Oklahoma and Rogers State.

Lauryn Pritchard’s top-five individual finish led Oklahoma City University to a fourth-place showing.  Pritchard, a sophomore from Allen, Texas, put together a tie for fifth place after 36 holes. OCU, ranked eighth in NAIA women’s golf, finished 13 shots behind the team pace.

The Stars turned in a 306-310–616 on the par-70, 5,821-yard course. Pritchard and Natalie Gough from OCU took spots in the top 10. Pritchard reeled in a 75-74–149 to finish five shots back from individual winner Jessica Green of Rogers State. Pritchard notched four birdies.

Gough, a sophomore from Bixby, Okla., tied for eighth place with a 72-78–150. Gough made par on 20 of the tournament’s 36 holes.

The Stars’ Melissa Eldredge, a senior from Eufaula, Okla., collected an 81-75–156. Eldredge posted a par score 21 times during the tournament. Blayne Barker, a freshman from Durant, Okla., provided OCU with a 78-85–163, while Lauren Behnken, a sophomore from Tulsa, Okla., posted an 83-83–166.

Oklahoma City’s second team finished in front of seven NCAA Division II squads with a ninth-place 320-312–632. Rachel Eckert, a sophomore from Bixby, Okla., led the team with a 79-77–156. Adeline Norton, a freshman from Ardmore, Okla., put together a 79-79–158 while finishing with par scores on 22 holes. McKenzie McCoy shot an 84-77–161, and Arianna Medina added a 78-84–162. Clair Hill had an 84-79–163.

OCU returns to the course in the Colorado State-Pueblo El Cheapo Classic on March 22-23 at Walking Stick Golf Club in Pueblo, Colo.

Northeastern State placed sixth as sophomore Aitana Hernandez earned her sixth career top-5 finish and tied for second. Hernandez fired off the second-lowest round in the tournament with a 71 and finished the two-round invite with a 147.   This is the second runner-up finish this season with a medalist win at NSU’s home tournament in the fall.   She carded the third most pars with 21 and snagged four birdies.

Kaylee Petersen continued her strong play with a fourth top-10 finish and was tenth on the leaderboard on a 151 (77-74) score.  The junior finished the fall section of the season with a pair of runner-up finishes.

As a team, NSU didn’t make any headway on the leaderboard and finished the day where they started in sixth place.  The RiverHawks had a team score of 619 and shed on stroke off their Monday round with a 309.

Nina Lee, who led Northeastern State Monday, slipped down the leaderboard and shot an 82 and finished tied for 27th with a 156.  Kelly Swanson shot a 165 (83-82) and Karlei Hemler carded a 168 (85-83).

Oklahoma Christian moved up a spot Tuesday, finishing in a tie for seventh in the 17-team tournament. OC’s second-round team score of 311 was a five-shot improvement over the first round and gave the Eagles an overall score of 627. That tied them with Oklahoma Baptist, which had entered the day five shots ahead of OC.

Two Eagles – freshman Wilma Merenmies of Jyvaskyla, Finland, and sophomore Alexandria Bennett of Plano, Texas – shot a 6-over-par 76 on the 5,821-yard course to tie for 14th individually in the 94-woman field.

Junior Shaley Goad of Wheeler, Texas, posted a four-shot improvement round-to-round with her 78 and tied for 41st at 160. Sophomore Felicity Wittenberg of West Pymble, Australia, tied for 50th at 163 after shooting an 83, while freshman Alyssa Wilson of Yukon tied for 60th at 166 after posting an 81.

Two OC players competed as individuals, with Elin Eriksson of Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, shooting an 81 and tying for 44th at 161 and sophomore Sarah Harrison of Edmond shooting an 82 and placing 70th at 170.

The Eagles will return to action next Monday and Tuesday in the Midwestern State Invitational, to be played at Wichita Falls Country Club in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Oklahoma Baptist shared seventh place with Oklahoma Christian. Three Bison saw improved scoring in the second round. After a round of 78 on day one, Josie Patterson improved her score by three strokes, ending her Tuesday with a 75 (+5) and bringing her total score to 153 (+13) as she led the way for the Bison.

Michelle Carr followed shot  77 to finish at 155. Shelby Philips improved from an opening 87 to shoot 85. Rounding out the two-day tournament for OBU was Elly Blaze (159, +19), Hayden Meiser (160, +20), and Shelby Philips (172, +32).

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