The University of the Cumberlands (UC) men and women's golf teams' got off to a strong start for the 2011-2012 season as they took first round leads into Friday's final round and extended them to tournament victories.
In the first round, the women's team jumped out to a lead early as they held a 3-stroke advantage over Lee University shooting a combined 313.
Laura Beth Harris (Glasgow, KY) held the individual lead after the first round shooting a 75 (+3). She was followed by Hannah Moore (London, KY) who sat tied for 4th with a 79 (+7), who was also tied with teammate McKinzie Price (Somerset, KY) who shot a 79 (+7). The Patriots were rounded out by Liz Stephens (Tockington, Bristol UK) shooting an 80 (+8) in round one and Taylor Gillis (Lawrenceburg, KY) who shot an opening round 86 (+14).
For the men, it was much closer as they finished round one tied for the lead with Lee University shooting a combined 294.
Aaron Watkins (Harlan, KY) led the way for the Patriots shooting a first round 70 (-2). Following Watkins was Niclas Rigbrandt (Nykoping, Sweden) who shot a first round 73 (+1). Fredrik Lindblom (Stockholm, Sweden) finished round one tied for 11th with a 74 (+2). Eli Towery (Mayfield, KY) was tied for 27th after day one with a 77 (+5) and rounding out the Patriots was Stuart Balcombe (Clevedon, United Kingdom) who was tied for 52nd after round one with an 80 (+8).
Day two was much different for the Patriots as the women's team pulled away with a 10 stroke win over Lee shooting a 311 on day two to finish with a final total of 624.
Laura Beth Harris took the individual championship shooting an overall 152 (+6). Hannah Moore continued her strong showing finishing in 3rd with a 156 (+10). Liz Stephens finished the tournament in 5th shooting a 158 (+12) while McKinzie Price was right behind shooting a 159 (+13). Rounding out the team was Taylor Gillis who shot a two-day 165 (+19).
Individuals also competing for UC were Chelsea Branscum (Somerset, KY) who finished the tournament in 9th place shooting a 164 (+18), Shannon Bishop (Glasgow, KY) who finished tied for 19th with a 173 (+27) and Allison Norris (Somerset, KY) who shot a 195 (+49).
Watkins took home the individual title shooting a two-day 139 (-5). Lindblom finished tied for 4th with a 146 (+2) with teammate Niclas Rigbrandt, who also competed in the tournament, also shot a 146 (+2). Vince Drahman (Noblesville, IN) finished tied for 10th with a 149 (+5) along with teammate Eric Hodgson (Canton, GA) who also shot a 149 (+5).
Stephen Marbach (Naperville, IL) finished the tournament tied for 33rd shooting a 155 (+11). Eli Towery was right behind tied for 35th shooting a 155 (+11). Tyler Morgan (Annville, KY) finished the invitational in 45th place with a 158 (+14) while Stuart Balcombe finished tied for 46th with a 159 (+15). Colin Vican (Caryville, TN) finished the tournament tied for 70th with a 174 (+30) while Clay McGrew (Lexington, KY) rounded out the Patriots lineup finishing 79th with a 191 (+47).
"I am very blessed this year to be stacked with tremendous talent on both sides," said Patriot Head Golf Coach Chris Kraftick. "I think this week the women proved we are deep and each person can contribute rounds in the 70s. With continued focus and determination, this team has the potential to accomplish anything they want! It is a superb way to start the season and great to see Aaron take a leadership role. I think we have a number of other talented players as well and I am excited to continue to work towards our ultimate goal, a national championship."
The men's team will be back on the links Monday September 12th as they take part in the Morehead State Invite. The women's team next tournament will be September 19th at the Don Bishop Invite.
For more information on the Patriot golf teams along with other Patriot athletics, please visit http://www.cumberlandspatriots.com/.