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Bartley Leads Eagles in First Round at Jekyll

jesse bartley tees off at jekyll island

JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. - There are very few tournaments the Bridgewater women's golf team has played every year since the program started with a partial squad in 2012, but one tournament they have never missed is the Jekyll Island Collegiate. The Eagles opened their seventh appearance at this "major" college tournament on Friday, posting a team score of 360 that put them in 19th place among 21 of the top teams in the country.

Starting in the afternoon wave on the Indian Mound course, the Eagles were led by junior Jesse Bartley, who played steadily all day and posted an 81. "This was an important round for the team, and for Jesse," said head coach John Rogers. "We did not have our strongest team performance today and she really helped keep us on the rails. She has been working on some mental strategies that allow her to score well even if the game is not 100% sharp, and it showed today." Bartley only had one hole over bogey on Friday and followed her front-nine 41 with a 40 coming in. This was the first time that Bartley posted the team-leading score.

Freshman Heather Donnelly turned in a 92 for the Eagles' second score after a solid opening nine of 43. "This was close to being a really good round," noted Rogers. "Indian Mound is a course you can score well on, but traditionally it takes a few rounds for our players to figure it out, and this is Heather's first trip here. She will be a leader for us in the future."

Fellow freshman Hannah Woodson posted a 93 that featured a birdie on the 14th hole, a par-4 that doglegs left around a lake.

Sophomore Abby Papke shot 94 on Friday, four shots better than any of her rounds at Jekyll Island a year ago on her first visit.

Senior and defending ODAC Player of the Week Amanda Kelley got off to a sluggish start on Friday and then wrestled with her putting stroke on the way to a score of 95. "I can't remember the last time Amanda's score did not count for us," said Rogers. "This was just one of those days you survive and then forget. The game of golf finds a way to slap us all around once in awhile, but Amanda is a great competitor and she will be back in form quickly."

In a field that features eleven of the top thirty teams in the nation, the Eagles (currently ranked #87) came in with pretty basic goals for the week. The tournament is so popular (30 men's teams as well as the 22 women's squads) that the men have always had a wait-list, which means the teams who finish at the bottom of the pack any given year have to sit out for a few years; and now that is becoming a factor on the women's side. On paper the Bridgewater ladies enter Jekyll Island ranked 20th of the 21 teams, which means they have a goal of playing up to ensure an invitation back next year.

Despite some struggles during the first round today, the Eagles are currently inside the cut-line for next season's tournament, and will play with Olivet on Saturday, a team they are chasing to secure their invitation for 2020.

New York University shot 300 and three players posted scores of 73 to lead the way with two rounds remaining.

The Eagles resume play at 8 a.m. on Saturday. Live scoring is available at: