Nova Holds on to Win Lady Moc Classic with Record Score; FSC Finishes Sixth with Another Top-Five Finish for Gartrell

Amanda Gartrell
Amanda Gartrell

LAKELAND, FL – Heather Wall (Burgner) helped Florida Southern win two Lady Moc Classic titles 10 years ago as a player, and the former Moccasin golfer left this year's tournament a winner yet again, but this time wearing a different uniform. Now the head coach for Nova Southeastern, Wall led the Sharks to the best final score in the tournament's 20-year history, while Barry's Tilda Larsson set the individual scoring record as medalist. Host Florida Southern shot a 304 Tuesday and finished sixth in the field of 17 teams, with sophomore Amanda Gartrell tying for fourth at one-under par 215.

The Moccasins moved up one spot in the final round, climbing ahead of Lynn after the Mocs out-scored the Knights by seven shots on Tuesday. Gartrell's second straight 71 paced the Mocs, with freshman Shelby Lewis (76), freshman Ashley Zagers (78) and junior Tori Higgins (79) completing their team score. Senior Abbey Williams had an 81 Tuesday.

Playing as individuals were Madison Wetzel, who had a final-round 77, and senior Kolby McWilliams who had an 89.

Nova Southeastern had a slim 2-shot lead over Seminole State (FL) going into the final round, but the Raiders dropped back after their 307. That left Saint Leo as Nova's only serious competitor for most of the day, but despite their single-round record of 283 in Monday's second round, and a 291 that was three shots better than the Sharks on Tuesday, the Lions were unable to catch them. Nova's total score of 877 (+13) broke the previous tournament record of 880, which they set in 2014. Saint Leo's 881 is now the third-best team score in tournament history.

Nova Southeastern had three of the top-10 golfers in the field and counted nothing worse than a 76 in the tournament. Saint Leo counted nothing worse than a 75 in the final two rounds, but a first-round 307 where the Lions counted an 82 proved to be the difference.

Seminole State ended up third, 15 shots behind Nova Southeastern, Flagler was fourth, finishing 19 shots off the pace, and Barry was fifth, 25 shots behind.

Barry's Tilda Larsson was one of three golfers who went into the final day at -4 and trailing Seminole State's Tuan-Yu Chiang by three strokes. All of them were in pursuit of the individual Lady Moc scoring record, and Chiang was trying to set that mark for the second year in a row. The sophomore was over-taken at the top though when she shot a 75, and Larsson shot a 70. That gave Larsson, who finished fourth last year, and eighth in 2016, the new Lady Moc Classic scoring record at six-under par 210.

Chiang's four-under-par 212 also broke the previous mark of 214, and Nova Southeastern's Michelle Ruiz tied it with a 214 that was good for third place this year. Three golfers tied for fourth at one-under par 215, including Gartrell, who had the best score any Moccasin has ever had in this event. She had the previous best last year with a 216.

With six golfers shooting under-par, the leaderboard at this year's Lady Moc Classic had the best scores in tournament history. Prior to this year, only two golfers had ever broken par, and both of them did that in 2017.

Gartrell had her second top-five finish in as many years at the Lady Moc Classic after she placed third last year. Zagers tied for 14th, Higgins was 49th, Lewis tied for 50th and Williams tied for 58th. Playing as individuals, Wetzel tied for 37th and McWilliams tied for 71st.

Florida Southern returns to action at the Peggy Kirk Bell Invitational, hosted by Rollins College, March 5-6.