by Benny Benton
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – The Barton College women's golf team is tied for 11th place out of 16 teams following the first round of the Barton Invitational at Kiawah, which is being played on the Oak Point course at Kiawah Island Resort.
The Lady Bulldogs combined for a team score of 341 on the par-72, 5,885-yard layout under extreme weather conditions that hampered even the top teams in the field.
Nationally ranked No. 13 Florida Southern College and No. 14 Wingate University are tied for the top spot after round one, and both squads were a combined 25-over par (313). Only one player in the tournament, UNC Pembroke's Madison Corley, carded a round under par (70), and just 14 players broke 80 on the day.
Barton junior Maria Garcia narrowly missed joining that group, posting an opening round of 82. The resident of Alcobendas, Spain, is tied for 27th in the 80-player field. The Lady Bulldogs also received an 84 from junior Sydney Turner, an 86 from junior Kelsey Woodall, an 89 from sophomore Clare McMahon and a 94 from freshman Jailynn Thomas.
"It was cold and very windy today," Barton golf coach Ashley Leonard said. "We were playing well through 12 holes and then just fizzled out over the last six. We made some big numbers, so our rounds were pretty good with the exception of a couple of holes per girl."
BC is tied with fellow conference member Converse College at 341, and trails another league member, Belmont Abbey College by three strokes for 10th. Barton and Converse are both one shot ahead of Queens University, and five strokes in front of Catawba College heading into tomorrow's final round.
The 16 teams will all tee off at 8 a.m. tomorrow in a shotgun start.