ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Rachel Watts shot a career-low 70 in the first round to hold a share of the top spot with Carson-Newman sitting in a tie for second place after Monday at the Spring Kickoff Intercollegiate.
As a whole, the Eagles were 17-over on Monday with a 305, putting them seven shots out of first. They were the best par 3 scoring team with an even showing on such holes while making the most shots for par at 57.
"It was a mixed day, honestly," Carson-Newman coach Suzanne Strudwick said. "We had great days from two girls and two others who could have done better. We know that we can do better."
Watts (Newport, Tenn.) led the way for C-N throughout the first day at two-under. She went two-under in the front nine thanks to birdies on holes one and seven. In the middle of the back nine, she carded a birdie and bogey on sequential holes to finish her day with an even showing in the later portion of the day.
The junior also tied for the best scores on par 4 holes with an even showing.
"Rachel had an absolutely fantastic day," Strudwick said. "All of her hard work and practice has shown and it is paying off."
With a share of 10th by the end of Monday with a two-over 74, Maeve Cummins (Waringstown, Northern Ireland) was spot on with par for eight of the front nine holes, carding a bogey on the par-4 fifth hole, putting her at one-over heading into the final nine of the day.
The freshman shot for par for 12 consecutive holes spanning the front and back nine before concluding her first round with a bogey. She drained the most par shots on the day with 16.
"Maeve did exceptionally well despite the length of the course," Strudwick said. "She hit well but putts just did not drop, which hurt her. She worked to grind out this round and proved her bulldog mentality with her work."
With three bogeys in the first half of the day, Taylor Hayes (Lake Ozark, Mo.) moved into a tie for 27th with a four-over showing in the back nine on a double bogey and three-straight bogeys. A birdie on 17 brought her first round score to a seven-over 79.
Reagan Kinnie (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) found herself in a tie for 40 by the end of the opening round. The junior was four-over heading into Monday's turn with four bogeys in the front nine. From there, a pair of bogeys and back-to-back double bogeys on the final two holes pushed her score out to 10-over at 82.
The front nine brought some struggles for Jayla Sims (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.), shooting nine-over in the first part of her day. The sophomore carded six bogeys and a pair of double bogeys before seeing her first birdie on the 11th hole. She stayed on par for the next four holes before a bogey and triple bogey pushed her to 13-over on the day, landing her tied for 49th on the leaderboard.
No. 13 Lynn sits in the driver's seat heading into the final day of the tournament at 10-over. Tied with Carson-Newman at second on the leaderboard is fellow South Atlantic Conference team No. 20 Wingate.
"Right now, Wingate is our main competition," Strudwick said. "Hopefully we can beat them out and get a turnaround tomorrow.
Tied at the top spot in the field with Watts is Wingate's Warissa Puangcharoen and North Greenville's Savannah Hallman. Not far behind the three-way tie at first is Lynn's Helen Kreuzer just one shot back at fourth with a one-under score of 71.
The tournament wraps up on Tuesday with one final round of play. Fans are encouraged to follow along with live scoring from the Golf Club at South Hampton via BirdieFire.