JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Charleston Southern recorded a seven-over 295, the second best round of the tournament, to jump three spots and finish tied for ninth Tuesday at the University of North Florida Collegiate.
Paced by juniors Hayley McNeill and Milleina Ohara, the Bucs played through strong winds to end the tournament on a high note and continue the momentum they built last week at the Edwin Watts/Kiawah Island Classic. McNeill surged into a tie for eighth in the field of 87 players thanks to a final round one-under 71. Ohara bounced back from a tough day Monday to go even par Tuesday, highlighted by a two-under par front nine.
Southern Miss pieced together a 294, the best round of the tourney, to win the team title on the strength of a tiebreaker with Memphis. Old Dominion and Daytona State College finished just a stroke back in a tie for third. Old Dominion's Sana Tufail held onto her day one lead to claim the individual crown at three-under 213. Daytona State's Jiwon Jeon was the only other player in the field, at -1, to finish in red numbers.
CSU head coach Matt Cram-Smith was pleased with his team's effort to make the most of the final 18 holes.
"Milleina really figured things out from yesterday and Hayley continues to play some great golf," Cram-Smith said. "The girls just all came out a bit more focused today and relaxed a lot more around the greens. It was very windy both days and the greens were very fast so it was challenging to keep the ball in control. I'm proud of all the girls for fighting hard today."
McNeill powered CSU by going out in two-under 34 on the back nine, her first nine of the day. She notched birdies at the par-three 12th and par-five 16th. A one-over front nine enabled the Australian to earn her second consecutive top-ten showing.
Ohara was +17 through 36 holes but turned in one of her best rounds of the campaign on Tuesday. She rolled in three birdie putts and had just one bogey and one big number, a double bogey seven at the par-five 16th. After those two miscues, though, Ohara played her final 13 holes in two-under to rise to 46th place.
Shelby Thompson, who anchored the Bucs throughout the fall, placed in a tie for 21st at ten-over par 226. She had only birdie in her final round but did notch 12 pars en route to a 74.
CSU returns to competition in two weeks at the Briar's Creek Invitational, hosted by College of Charleston from March 20-21.