CALHOUN COUNTY, Ala. (9/8/09) - Led by sophomore Jennifer Welch's career-best 71, the Arkansas State women's golf team turned in its best score since the 2002-03 season with a final-round 295 on Tuesday to finish the three-day Chris Banister Classic tied for fourth place with a combined 918.
The Red Wolves improved their score each round, posting a 318 Sunday and 305 Monday before coming back Tuesday to record the second lowest round of the entire tournament among all eight teams competing. ASU's combined score of 918 was its lowest three-round total since its second tournament of the 2007-08 season when it shot a 917.
Freshman Anna Carling withdrew from the tournament after suffering a knee injury in the first round, but the remaining four ASU golfers either matched or lowered their scores in each of the final two rounds to help ASU to the strong finish.
"You never know how players are going to react to the pressure of playing with just four, but they played inspired golf and were able to put it together," said ASU head coach Ginger Brown-Lemm. "Every time one of them stumbled, they came back to post a couple of birdies to make up for where they struggled."
ASU's 295 was the best round of the day as the next closest team shot a 303, moving the Red Wolves from fifth place to tied for fourth in the final standings with Indiana State. Lamar won the tournament with a combined 904, while host Jacksonville State finished second with a 908 and Louisiana-Monroe third with a 911.
Welch had the best finish of her career, completing the tournament tied for third place with a combined 223 (76-76-71). She posted her second career top-10 finish and her final-round 71 was also the best of her young career at ASU.
"Jennifer Welch played an exceptional round," said Brown-Lemm. "It was one of those rounds where she could have shot a 68 but still turned in a 71, and I'm so proud of what this team was able to accomplish at this tournament. I think the way we played these last two rounds is a great sign of the direction this team is going and it was a treat to watch yesterday and today."
Joining Welch among the top 20 finisher's for ASU were senior Adrian Sportsman, senior Cassie Huffer and senior Courtney Blevins. Sportsman finished 12th with a 230 (81-75-74), Huffer tied for 14th with a 232 (80-78-74) and Blevins tied for 20th with a 235 (83-76-76).
ASU will next compete at the 15th Annual Chip-N-Club Invitational, hosted by Nebraska, Sept. 14-15.
Arkansas State Results
Place, Name (R1-R2-R3--Total)
5, Arkansas State (318-305-295--918)
T3, Jennifer Welch (76-76-71--223)
12, Adrian Sportsman (81-75-74--230)
T14, Cassie Huffer (80-78-74--232)
T20, Courtney Blevins (83-76-76--235)
WD, Anna Carling (81-WD-WD)
ASU Sports Information