Consistent might be the best way to describe the Lady Flames’ golf play after the opening round of the Lee University Spring Invitational on Monday at the Cleveland Country Club.
The Lady Flames fought a consistent battle against the windy conditions and the quick greens in posting a 333. Shorter University, always one of Lee’s top rivals, is four strokes back at 337. The University of the Cumberlands (338), Lindsey Wilson (356) and Campbellsville University (367) round out the top five in the 7-team field.
Courtney Shelton paced the Lady Flames with an 81 and is also the medalist leader heading into the final 18 holes on Tuesday. Lee’s Geandra Almeida and Shorter’s Maria Bengtsson are tied for second after posting 82 scores. Shorter’s Lisa Perrson and Cumberlands’ Taylor Gillis are tied for fourth with 83s.
Lee’s Kristin Bourg is tied for sixth with an 84 and Sloane Skinner is tied for 11th after her 86. Freshman Madison Alexander carded an 88, while Chelsea Rakestraw, playing in the individual competition, came in at 93.
“Both teams are in the hunt,” coach John Maupin said. “All you can really ask for is to have a chance to win when it gets to the back nine on Tuesday. I look forward to seeing how both our teams respond.”
Despite a 5-under par 67 by Lee’s J.B. Eksteen, the Flames will have to make up a 12-stroke deficit to claim top honors in the Lee University Spring Invitational final round on Tuesday.
Tennessee Wesleyan fought off the wind and lightning-fast greens at the Cleveland Country Club to tally a 294 after the opening 18. Michael Alread shot a 1-under par 71 to pace the Bulldogs, while Wesley Farris and Josh Wheeler countered with even-par rounds of 72.
Eksteen carded what coach John Maupin described as “an awesome” round. “I really can’t say enough about how great a round his 67 is,” pointed out Maupin. Eksteen will have a four stroke lead in the individual competition over Alread when the final round begins on Tuesday. “Although it is impressive, that is just the type of player he can be. J.B. is tremendously talented and it really showed today.”
Sophomore Hunter Vest scrambled to post a 5-over par 77 and helped keep the Flames in the hunt with a 306 team tally. Jeremy Lawson followed with an 80 and Tyler Smith finished with an 82. Caleb Roberson rounded out the Flames’ scoring with an 85.
The Flames also entered a second team in the 13-squad event. Matt Emery and Scott Murray were the leaders in that group with 80s.
Lindsey Wilson (308), Holy Cross (Ind.) (311), and Campbellsville (313) rounded out the top five clubs.
While Eksteen and Alread appear headed for a showdown for medalist honors in a 68-player field, four golfers including Farris, Wheeler, Campbellsville’s Trey Shirley and Reinhardt’s Zach Lindsey, all with 72s, could challenge for top honors.
The first group will tee off at 9 a.m. on Tuesday and the final group will hit the links at noon.