Gartrell’s Top-10 Finish Leads Florida Southern to Fifth Place as a Team at Peggy Kirk Bell Invitational

Amanda Gartrell
Amanda Gartrell

WINDERMERE, FL – Amanda Gartrell's two-under-par 70 was nearly the best round of the day and it pushed the Moccasin sophomore up to sixth place in the final standings, while Abbey Williams was tied for 17th after a final-round 75 that helped Florida Southern place fifth out of 18 teams at the Peggy Kirk Bell Invitational hosted by Rollins.

The 7th-ranked Moccasins, who nearly set a team scoring record on Monday with a 288, slipped to a 299 on Tuesday, which was still their fourth-best round of the season. Three of those four came during the Peggy Kirk Bell Invitational, an event Florida Southern plays annually and had its best showing since a runner-up finish in 2012. Only once did any of the five golfers playing in the regular lineup shoot anything over 78, and they counted only one score over 76 in any of the three rounds.

Gartrell was one of four golfers in the field of 100 who had a 70 Tuesday, with only Lynn's Jenny Ayala doing better with a 68. With Williams adding a 75, Shelby Lewis shooting a 76, and Tori Higgins adding a 78, the Mocs were able to break 300 in all three rounds. They had not done something like that since the 2011 National Finals where the Mocs were under 300 for the first three rounds on a par-71 course in Allendale, Michigan. The Mocs hadn't done that on a par-72 course since winning the 2009 Barry Invitational with an 881.

The list of teams above Florida Southern was an impressive one, with top-ranked Nova Southeastern winning the tournament by one shot over No. 4 Dallas Baptist. The Sharks, who have now won six of their seven tournaments this season, had rounds of 290, 288, and 287 to close at one-over par. The Patriots had identical scores to the Sharks in the first two rounds but a 288 Tuesday. Lynn, which is ranked No. 12 nationally by Golfstat, finished third at +10, and No. 3 Saint Leo was fourth at +17, three shots ahead of Florida Southern.

The Moccasins out-shot host and No. 19 Rollins by 12 shots, and none of the other schools behind Florida Southern were closer than 29 shots.

Gartrell has finished in the top-10 of all but one tournament this season and Tuesday was her fifth under-par round. Four of those have come in the last two tournaments. Williams equaled her second lowest round of the season and placed 17th or higher for the fourth time in six tournaments.

Higgins, who had the Mocs' best score in round one, tied for 21st at +7 (223), and Lewis tied for 27th place at +8 (224), her best score of the season in a 3-round tournament. Ashley Zagers, who had an 81 Tuesday and tied for 47th with an overall score of +16 (232).

Three Moccasins were playing as individuals, and two of them also had scores of 232. Of that group, Victoria Cangero had the best round Tuesday with a 78, while Madison Wetzel shot an 80. Kolby McWilliams posted an overall score of 239 with a final-round 82 and tied for 71st.

Evelyn Arguelles of Dallas Baptist won the tournament with a six-under-par 210 (72-68-70), giving her a two-shot margin over Ayala and Nova Southeastern's Jamie Freedman. Another golfer from Nova, Sophia Madden, tied for fourth with West Florida's Paloma Vaccaro at two-under par 214, with Gartrell and Hannah Harrison of Dallas Baptist sitting at 215.

Florida Southern's next tournament is March 26-27 at the Barry Invitational at Don Shula's Resort in Miami Lakes.