Women’s golf performs well to start the season, ranked 78th in nation

The Mercer women’s golf team has been turning heads of late as they jumped in the national rankings to 78, which is the highest ever ranking for the women’s golf program in school history.
At the Hurricane Invitational hosted by the University of Miami, the Bears were able to propel themselves to a fifth place finish against several national powers.
Mercer sophomore Sara Louie Brown tied for 11th place individually in the Hurricane Invitational, helping lift the Bears to a fifth place finish on the final team leader board at the Deering Back Yacht and Country Club.  Brown’s three-round total of 223 helped Mercer outpace 11 other teams at the event.
“The team played well this weekend and I was proud of the way they finished,” Mercer head coach Gary Guyer said.  “The 36-hole and 18-hole format makes for long days, so they had to focus and were able to do it.  It’s a good start to our spring season and we look forward to the next tournament.”
Brown’s tournament total of 223 was highlighted by a 73 in the opening round and marked her best three-round total of the academic year.  Junior Mary Alice Murphy registered Mercer’s low round of the tournament on day two, firing a 72 (+1) to finish in a tie for 16th place individually at 225.  Junior Lacey Fears carded a 78 in the final round and came in a tie for 41st place at 235.
 Seniors Aurelie Wiriath and Kaitlin Marrin finished tied for 59th and 71st, respectively.  Wiriath capped her tournament with a 241 while Marrin used 246 strokes.
On the heels of a fifth place finish at the Hurricane Invitational in Miami, the Bears and head coach Gary Guyer look to improve even further and possibly crack the top-50.
“My goal has always been to build a top 50 program,” said sixth year head coach Gary Guyer. “When I took over the program as head coach, the team was ranked #210 and there were 226 Division 1 women’s golf programs in the country. We were in last place in the A-Sun Conference and almost last in the country. Today we are ranked #78 out of 258 Division 1 women’s golf programs and only ETSU (#56) is ranked ahead of us in the conference. We are getting there.”
Coach Guyer has a positive outlook on what his team can do heading into the future including the possibility of winning the conference tounament.
“We have all five starters returning that competed in the A-Sun conference championship last year”, said Coach Guyer. “In that championship, we posted a school record score of 880 which was the third lowest round in A-Sun history. It averages out to a 73.3 score per player. However, it just so happened that the teams that shot the best and second-best totals did so in the same tournament. Someone asked what I thought our chances are of winning the conference championship. I replied that it will be a tough battle, but like Gary Koch’s famous call, ‘Better than Most.’”
The women’s golf team competes next at the Sir Pizza Terrapin Invitational in Miami on Feb. 25-26.