Even on a perfect fall day golf has never been an easy game to play, even for Tiger Woods. Add the coldest temperature since last spring and bone-chilling winds to the mix and you can quickly understand why low scores were not on the agenda for any course on Monday.
Eleven teams were on hand for the opening round of the Lee Lady Flames Shootout and many had to wonder if this was a bad dream, leaving them playing on a British Open course instead of the Cleveland Country Club layout. The closest score to par 72 was a 77 turned in by Bryan College’s Carrilee Hiers. She will take a four-stroke lead into Tuesday’s final round of the 36-hole event.
Four golfers, including three Lee players, are tied for second. Lady Flames Madison Alexander, Bernadette Little and Sloane Skinner fought the battle against the elements and posted 9-over scores of 81. Jessica Macphee (Thomas University) also carded an 81. Little is a freshman from Nova Scotia and might have played in such conditions more often than her teammates.
Courtney Shelton rounded out the top four Lee scores that counted with an 84, and is still in the medalist hunt and tied for sixth place with Liz Stephens of the University of the Cumberlands.
The Lady Flames (327) own a commanding 20-stroke lead in the team competition. South Carolina Beaufort (347) is second. College of Coastal Georgia (350), University of the Cumberlands (354) and Thomas University (364) round out the top five clubs.
“We are very pleased to be leading by 20 after the first round,” said John Maupin after the coach and his team braved the cold day. “As the scores show, the golf course was playing very difficult today, and we expect more of the same tomorrow.
“I think we can improve upon our score from today, so that’s our goal for tomorrow,” he added. “I think this team has a unique ability to play through tough conditions and I admire that. We always try to just take it one round at a time, so we will put this one behind us, and show up ready to go tomorrow.”
Play is slated to begin at 9 a.m on Tuesday and no doubt 11 teams and their followers are hoping the weather conditions will take a turn for the better.