Anna Morgan turned a good round into a great round with a 4-hole stretch on the back nine during the first day of the Lady Paladin Invitational at Furman.
Morgan, who was the SoCon Freshman of the Year in the wrap around 2019 and 2020 season, made the turn at 1-under par with two birdies and a bogey. A good start that had her near the top of the early leader board.
A birdie on her 11th hole kept her grouped with the early tournament leaders.
Morgan eagled the par-5 470 yard 13th hole. She was on the green in two and sank a 30 foot putt to put a 3 on her scorecard.
The par 3 14th hole gave Morgan another birdie which looked to earn her at least a share of the lead at 5-under par.
A routine par on the 15th hole set the stage for her ace on the 140 yard par-3 16th.
The green is elevated above the tee. Morgan thought she hit a good shot, but didn’t see it land.
“I didn’t see it , but I heard some reaction form the people around the green. When I got up to the hole they told me I dunked it,” she said.
Morgan’s ace cut two more strokes off par and gave the Lady Paladin from Spartanburg the lead with two holes to play.
“It was my second hole in one in competition. The first one I had was in 7th grade so its been a long time,” she said.
Morgan finished out her round with two solid pars to shoot a 7-under par 65 for her best round as a Lady Paladin.
“I honestly don’t know why today was so good,” she said after the round. “I had been struggling with my irons and I just tried to simplify the game and take some of the pressure off. I just had a good feeling going out and played a really good round,” said Morgan.
Sara McKevitt from North Florida shot a 3-under par 69 to be in second place 4-shots behind Morgan.
Furman’s defending Southern Conference individual champion Sarah-Eve Rheaume is tied with two other golfers for third place after shooting an opening round 2-under par 70.
As a team the Lady Paladins hold a commanding 12 shot lead over Coastal Carolina with 36 holes remaining in the tournament.
“I think I am as happy about our team playing so well as I am about my round today. I was kind of feeding off of them all day. As a team we have the game, but we need to put it all together on the same day,” said Morgan.
Playing at home gives the Lady Paladins an advantage, but it also puts a little extra pressure on the golfers to do well in front of the home crowd.
“I was a little nervous on the first tee today. I told myself just make sure you get it in the fairway,” Morgan joked.
Morgan will take her 4-shot lead into the second round , but is not making any predictions.
“We will see how it goes. I’m not going to put any pressure on myself to shoot another 65. Now I just want to hang out with my team and enjoy this day,” concluded Morgan.
Scores from the Lady Paladin Invitational http://results.golfstat.com//public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=team&tid=24157