USC Upstate won the team title and Wofford’s Beca Earl was the medalist as the two Spartanburg schools brought home all the hardware from the Lady Bison Classic at the Bay Point Golf Club in Panama City, Florida.
Battling a very demanding golf course was only part of the story as Gulf weather, barely in the 50s, and windy conditions elevated all the competitors scores making it a test of determination as much as skill.
Only four golfers were able to break par in the event and then only by a single shot.
Earl was one of the four and she posted her 1-under par 71 in the final round to edge out Beem Pabsimma from Upstate for the victory.
“This week I drove the ball pretty solid and my putting was good which I think was key in the weather conditions,” said the Terrier senior.
The victory was Earl’s third and tied her with Lauren Dunbar for the most career wins. She is now also tied with Alex Rankin for most top-five finishes by a Terrier.
“One of my goals for the season was to win another tournament, so I’m very happy to have completed it and hopefully add to it later this season,” said the Terrier from Essex, England.
In the team competition Upstate trailed Lipscomb by five shots going into the final round with Jacksonville also ahead of the Spartans.
“We were two shots off the lead, then we were six ahead and then five behind. It was crazy, but we held it together “bajubun” and ended up winning by six shots,” said the Upstate coach Todd Lawton.
Three of the five Spartan golfers are from Thailand and it was that thought “bajubun” that allowed Upstate to survive those big momentum swings during the 54 hole, 2 day tournament.
“Our team goal for the tournament was “bajubun” which translates from Thai to English as “staying in the moment” we did that all day,” said Lawton.
Pabsimma birdied her last hole to finish alone in second place for the event with a 222 total. During the first two rounds she made three eagles and after the second round held the lead.
Praew Nontarux led the Spartans in the final round with a 1-under par 71 to finish in a tie for 13th individually.
Senior Kathyrn Elliott, who is working back from injuries, carded her best round of the tournament in the final round with a 2-over 74 to finish 12th and help in the winning effort.
Suwarin Yordin gave the Spartans their fourth golfer in the top 16 of the individual standings. Abigayle Hatcher rounded out the Upstate team’s winning effort.
The win gives the Spartans, who finished as the Big South runner-up last year, at least one win in each of the last four seasons.
“Somebody had to survive the conditions and win and our team really did what we talked about before the tournament, take it one shot at a time and don’t worry about the last one or the next one and it paid off,” said Lawton.
Scores from the Lady Bison Classic from GofStat https://results.golfstat.com//public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=team&tid=24733