It’s not quite time yet for the Atlantic Sun tournament, but head coach Gary Guyer’s squad seems to be peaking at the right time. After a fifth place finish at the Jacksonville University Classic at Hidden Hills Country Club, the Bears pulled off their second tournament win of the season at the Coast Georgia Invitational in St. Simons Island, Georgia.
Trailing rival A-Sun schools Jacksonville and Florida Gulf Coast by only a few strokes at the end of two rounds, Mercer would settle in 5th with a team score of 642 (315-327) during the competitive Florida tournament eventually won by Daytona State College.
Freshman Lacey Fears (15th, 79-80) would take the low score for the Bears while teammates Aurelie Wiriath (T16th, 75-85), Alicia Poole (19th, 81-80) and Kimberly Graff (T-20th, 80-82) would stay in range during the final round. Sophomore Kaitlin Marrin (30th, 86-87) would round out the five on MU’s scorecard as they successfully stayed ahead of USC Upstate and South Dakota.
“We played okay at the JU classic, but it was not up to our standards,” Guyer said. “But the lesson we learned is that the way we putt is the way we score. I think our team always has to keep in mind that our short game is the most important thing. Everyone on the team had moments of brilliance. Aurelie had a solid opening round and was three off the lead. Tee to green, Kimmy played exceptional. We just couldn’t get the ball in the hole, and that is what golf is about.”
Aurelie Wiriath’s opening round at the JU Classic hinted at things to come as she would take her first collegiate individual tournament title with a playoff win over Shorter’s Greta Lange the next weekend. Lange, who lost to Lacey Fears in a playoff hole at Macon’s Eat-A-Peach Collegiate has committed to Wake Forest for the 2011-12 golf season.
“It was such a thrill to win my first collegiate golf tournament following a playoff,” Wiriath commented after the two-day tournament was complete.
After shooting an 80 on the opening day, Wiriath stayed consistent over the course of 18 holes to card a 75, combined with the mishaps of Greta Lange (2nd, 72-83) to force a playoff hole at the end. Ultimately, Wiriath would par the hole while Lange would bogey.
“Competing in Coastal Georgia’s inaugural tournament was exciting for us,” said Guyer. “We love Sea Island and have made some great friends there. We could have played better the first day and ended up digging ourselves into a hole. Six shots was a pretty big lead for Shorter and they have one of the top players in the country leading their team. Our girls felt confident that we could catch them, but it would take everyone coming together. Our player’s goal was to beat the other team’s players in their group,” he added.
The Belle Bears saw top individual finishes from Lacey Fears (T-6th, 78-84), Kaitlin Marrin (T-9th, 81-83) and Alicia Poole (T-11th, 80-85) followed by Keri Lynn Carson (32nd, 93-93).
As they enjoy their second team tournament title of the 2010-11 golf season, Mercer preps for a competitive 15 team field at the Barefoot Resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C. (hosted by the College of Charleston) on March 6-7 in their “run for the A-Sun.”