USF finishes fourth in a field with No. 13 Vanderbilt and four Big Ten teams at the FAU Paradise Invitational Field;
Bulls post record low 54-hole team score;
Freshman Green posts top 10 all-time 54-hole total of 211 in her collegiate debut
TAMPA, FEB. 9, 2021 – Head Coach Erika Brennan’s USF women’s golf team came out of the gates blazing to start their 2020-21 campaign and nearly held on for a tournament victory against a strong field Tuesday at the FAU Paradise Invitational at the Boca Lago Country Club course in Boca Raton, Fla.
USF sat atop the leaderboard after Monday’s first two rounds and were tied for the lead at 6-under par with Michigan State and Maryland with two holes to play on Tuesday, but the Bulls got bit by a difficult par-4, 17th hole and finished in fourth place just behind No. 13 Vanderbilt in the 13-team field with a 2-under par total of 861. The 54-hole team total broke the previous USF record of 864, set in 2015-16, by three strokes.
Michigan State won the tournament with a 6-under par total of 858 followed by Maryland (-5, 859), Vanderbilt (-4, 860), USF and North Florida (+6, 869) among the top five teams in a field that featured four Big Ten programs.
“Today was a tougher go out there,” Brennan said. “We hung tough all day and rallied on a lot of holes to make pars. The team was giving it all they had, but today we came up short. We know what we need to focus on going to the Florida State Matchup.”
Freshman Melanie Green (Medina, N.Y.) led the Bulls, finishing second overall in her collegiate debut after firing rounds of 69, 69 and 73 for a 5-under par total of 211. Maryland’s Virunpat Olankitkunchai won the tournament firing an 11-under 205 and a closing round of 69.
Green’s 36-hole total of 6-under par 138 is tied for the third-best all-time by a Bull, just two strokes shy of the record of 136. Her 54-hole total of 211 on the par-72, 6,076-yard course ranks as the seventh-best in program history, just four strokes of the record of 207 fired by her teammate Erika Smith in 2019-20.
“MG was solid start to finish and it was great to see her earn runner-up honors in her collegiate debut,” Brennan said. “Her work ethic back home propelled her to an awesome finish. Coach Stevens and I are both amped for her.”
Junior Ashley Zagers (Oldsmar) joined Green in the top 10 after firing an even par 216 (74, 70, 72) to finish tied for ninth. Fellow junior Jessica Whitting (Perth, Australia) tied for 13th with a 2-over par score of 218. Freshman Erika Smith (Orlando) finish tied for 23rd with a 6-over par score of 222 while senior Shelby Brauckmuller (Auburndale) tied for 29th with a 7-over par 223.
“For Ashley to get a top 10 out of the gate is awesome,” Brennan said. “Her short game was incredible this week and her heart is unmatched!”
- The Bulls’ 54-hole team total of 861 broke the previous USF record of 864, set in 2015-16, by three strokes.
- The Bulls’ 36-hole total of 10-under 566 shattered the Bulls’ 36-hole program record of 576 set in 2018-19 at the USA Intercollegiate.
- The Bulls opening round of 281 – led by 3-under scores of 69 shot by Green, Whitting and Brauckmuller – was also a new program record for overall low round score and the 7-under par marked a record low team round to par.
- It was the fifth time under third-year head coach Erika Brennan that the Bulls bested the program’s low round team score record and the fourth time besting the team’s low round to par mark under Brennan.
- In all, the top five program team low rounds and top four team low rounds vs. par have all occurred under Brennan’s watch.
4 South Florida -3 281, 285, 295 861
2 Melanie Green -6 69, 69, 69 207
T9 Ashley Zagers E 74, 70, 72 216
T13 Jessica Whitting +2 69, 71, 78 218
T24 Erika Smith +6 74, 75, 73 222
T29 Shelby Brauckmuller +7 69, 77, 77 223
The Bulls return to action Feb. 26-28 for the Florida State Matchup at Seminole Legacy Golf Club in Tallahassee.
About USF Women’s Golf
The Bulls are in their third season under head coach Erika Brennan in 2020-21. USF is among the fastest rising program in the country, as they climbed 75 spots in the national Golfstat rankings following Brennan’s first season. The Bulls won two tournaments in 2018-19 and set several program records, including season scoring average (293.43) and team rounds of par or better (6), and in 2019-20 the Bulls posted a wire-to-wire win at the Old Friends Invitational, marking the program’s third tournament title since spring 2019.
Stay up to date on the latest USF women’s golf news by following the Bulls on social media (Twitter | Facebook | Instagram).