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Eagles Leading Marlins Invitational

amanda kelley hits a fairway shot

AHOSKIE, N.C. - The Bridgewater women's golf team played the first round of the Marlins Invitational at Beechwood Country Club on Saturday and, though scores were high across the board, the Eagles opened a seven-stroke lead as they pursue their third victory of the 2018-19 season.

Amanda Kelley, coming off a career round of 75 at Jekyll Island, started slow on Saturday and made the turn seven strokes over par, but the senior caught fire on the back nine and salvaged an 80 that puts her in second-place. Kelley birdied the par-5 10th hole, the par-3 12th which played straight into a strong wind, and followed it up with another on the par-4 13th. She narrowly missed her birdie putt on #14. Kelley also hit great approaches on #17 and #18, leaving her 12 feet for birdie and 22 feet for eagle, but both putts were slick downhill putts with large amounts of left-to-right break and both resulted in 3-putts.

Kelley trails only Maggie Kingora of Virginia Wesleyan, who shot 79 after being even par through 11 holes.

Junior Jesse Bartley is also in the top-10 after the first round on Saturday. She played steadily all day but dropped five strokes on the par-5 16th hole after three bunker shots. Her total of 93 has her in sixth place on a day when wind, soft fairways, and slick greens gave most of the field trouble. Bartley dropped a 15-foot birdie on the 11th hole.

Freshman Hannah Woodson came in with a 95 and sophomore Abby Papke posted a 96 to provide the final team scores. Freshman Heather Donnelly shot 99 and senior Meghan Morris finished with a 115 playing as an individual.

"Today was one of those days where most of the round seems to be a struggle," said head coach John Rogers. "But the ladies kept grinding and they put themselves in position to pull off a win." The Eagles won two tournaments in the fall segment of the 2018-19 season and hold a seven-stroke lead over Pfeiffer University heading into the final round.

Play resumes at Beechwood Country Club at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday.