Lady Tops struggle in Memphis Intercollegiate

Sam Porter

The WKU women’s golf team traveled to Memphis, Tenn., this past Monday and Tuesday to compete in the two day-three round Memphis Women’s Intercollegiate at Ridgeway Country Club.

It was the first time the Lady Toppers traveled to the tournament under Head Coach Adam Gary.

The Lady Tops finished ninth out of the 13 team field, besting fellow Conference USA opponent University of Alabama-Birmingham while falling to Florida International.

“We were a little disappointed with our finish,” Gary said about his team’s result. “It was a tougher field in tough conditions and it was also tightly grouped together. We were only six shots out of fifth. Over the course of three days with five players, six shots isn’t very much.”

Freshman Mary Joiner once again led the Lady Tops with a 229 (82-76-71) and finished 12th individually.

Entering the final day, Joiner was tied for 41st entering the final round and shot an even-par 71 to surge into a the 12th place finish. The 12th place finish was the second top 15 finish of the season for the Franklin native

“I did the same thing last tournament too,” Joiner commented on her improvement as the tournament went on. “I felt like I was hitting the ball well, but my scoring just wasn’t there. Each round I started making less mental mistakes and shaved off some strokes. It was very windy every round I was able to adjust to that as the tournament went on so I think that was a factor on why I improved.”

Consistency seemed to be a problem for the Lady Tops throughout the tournament.

Junior Georgina Blackman followed Joiner with a 231(73-78-80), finishing tied for 24th. Entering the final round, the Essex, England, native sat in 10th place individually.

However, Blackman’s 80 in the final round dropped her back for the 24th overall individual finish.

Despite the drop, Blackman finished in the top 25 for the third time in three tournaments this season.

Junior Emily Alexander finished 37th individually by shooting a 234(80-82-72). Like Joiner, Alexander had a strong final round that moved her up from 57th overall to a 37th place finish.

Junior Katie Story rounded out the scoring for the Lady Tops with a 235(74-81-80).

“We just weren’t able to get all our scores together at the same time,” Gary said about the team’s inconsistency. “We had to count six scores in the 80’s which is something we haven’t had to do since I began coaching here. We had two girls play well one round and then not play well the next round. We also had two girls not play well the first round then play well the next round.”

The Lady Tops travel to Lakewood Ranch, Florida, next Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to compete in the Pat Bradley Invitational hosted by Florida International.

The competition will be the second to last tournament for the Lady Tops for the 2016 calendar year.

“Going down to Florida will be good for us,” Gary finalized. “It’s supposed to be similar conditions to Memphis in terms of wind and grasses and greens are similar as well. We basically just had a warm up for this competition so I’m confident we can go down there and compete well.”

Reporter Sam Porter can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @SammyP14.