HANAHAN — Florida successfully defended its title in the 11th annual Cougar Classic women’s college golf tournament at Yeamans Hall Club with a final-round surge to squeak past a couple of upstarts.
The Gators, with a 7-under-par 281 Tuesday, finished one stroke ahead of first-year program Clemson and two shots ahead of host College of Charleston. The Gators finished the 54-hole tournament with a total of 859, five under par. Clemson, which held the lead going into the final round, struggled to a 293 for a score of 860. The College of Charleston broke par for the second straight round with a 1-under 287 and finished at 861, two strokes ahead of N.C. State and 10 shots ahead of fifth-place Mississippi State.
Florida junior Anna Young helped the Gators climb from fifth place and an 11-shot deficit by shooting a final-round 67 and finished first individually at 211.
Clemson freshmen Ashlan Ramsey, the world’s top-ranked female amateur, and Sloan Shanahan tied for second individually at 212. College of Charleston senior Kathryn Miranda and sophomore Mary Chandler Bryan tied for eighth individually at 215 to lead the Cougars.
Both Clemson coach J.T. Horton and College of Charleston coach Jamie Futrell said they hope this season-opening tournament will be springboards to good things for their programs.
“I’m very excited with how this tournament went,” Horton said. “I know the girls are a little disappointed. We didn’t play quite our best today…They did a good job of leveling out and fighting tooth and nail to the very end. Any time you have five freshmen in the lineup you’re going to have some growing pains. We had that today. On the flip side of that you also saw five freshmen go 9-under the last two (rounds), and that shows we have a lot of talent in our lineup.
“This is something to build on growing forward. If you had told me we were going to finish second in our first college tournament, I would probably take it.
“It’s not a win. If anything, it will leave them humble and hungry for the next couple of weeks. They got a taste of what it’s like to be in the hunt in a major college event. At the end of the day, this will pay big dividends moving forward.”
It was a record-breaking event for the College of Charleston. The Cougars’ 3-under team total of 861 shattered the school’s previous best 54-hole score of 884.
“I knew we were pretty good. We were pointing toward this year. But I didn’t know we were that good,” said Futrell, who is entering his 18th season at the College of Charleston. “This shows what hard work and confidence will do. We’ve never had that low, low round. To shoot under par two days in a row, I didn’t know we had that.”
Futrell said he thought something that helped the team was bringing in former College of Charleston basketball star Anthony Johnson, who spent 13 seasons in the NBA, to talk with the team about what it took to beat teams from the ACC and SEC.
“This is huge for us,” Futrell said. “We racked up a lot of wins against teams that are in or will be in the top 25. I’d like to think it’s a springboard for us.”
Florida, 291-287-281—859; Clemson, 285-282-293—860; College of Charleston, 289-285-287—861; N.C. State, 287-287-289—863; Mississippi State, 282-291-298—871; South Carolina, 285-298-289—872; Wake Forest, 287-294-298—879; Auburn, 295-295-291—881; Tennessee, 299-296-288—883; Wisconsin, 298-292-294—884; LSU, 295-291-301—887; Baylor, 289-299-300—888; Penn State, 299-302-296—897; Mississippi, 305-297-298—900; Missouri, 302-302-304—908; Furman, 298-312-300—910; Coastal Carolina, 303-305-306—914; Maryland, 299-306-310—915; UNC Greensboro, 314-319-316—945; Charleston Southern, 329-324-314—867.
Anna Young, Florida, 73-71-67—211; Brittany Marchand, N.C. State, 66-77-69—212; Ashlan Ramsey, Clemson, 72-69-71—212; Sloan Shanahan, Clemson, 69-69-74—212; Ally McDonald, Mississippi State, 66-72-75—213; *-Justine Dreher, South Carolina, 71-73-70—214; Karolina Vlckova, Florida, 73-73-68—214; Mary Chandler Bryan, College of Charleston, 72-71-72—215; Kathryn Miranda, College of Charleston, 74-71-70—215; Kimberly Dinh, Wisconsin, 73-69-74—216; Samantha Swinehart, South Carolina, 69-72-75—216; Victoria Trapani, Auburn, 71-74-71—216; Marissa Dodd, Wake Forest, 68-75-74—217; Laura Fuenfstueck, College of Charleston, 71-74-72—217; Augusta James, N.C. State, 72-70-75—217; Caroline Nistrup, LSU, 73-72-72—217; Maria Torres, Florida, 70-71-76—217; Vivian Tsui, N.C. State, 75-70-72—217; Ellen Ceresko, Penn State, 76-74-68—218; Mary L. Gallagher, Mississippi State, 69-74-75—218; Suzie Lee, South Carolina, 73-77-68—218; Ana Menendez, N.C. State, 74-70-74—218; Lauren Salazar, Clemson, 71-72-75—218; Sierra Sims, Wake Forest, 74-71-73—218; Morgan Webber, College of Charleston, 72-69-77—218.
*-competed as individual rather than as team member