LEXINGTON, Va. - For the first time in Bridgewater College history, both the men's and women's golf teams have won tournaments in the same week- in this case both have won their inaugural events of the 2019-20 season. The men won at Shenandoah on Monday and the women finished atop the list of ten teams in the Knights (Southern Virginia University) Invitational on Saturday.
In fact, the Eagles shot a team score of 321 (best for the program in two years) to finish 29 strokes clear of Shenandoah University, a score that is also 26 strokes better than the team average last season. "We are a young squad, with six of our eight players being underclassmen," said head coach John Rogers,"and we knew we had good depth, but coming out with this kind of firepower from a fairly inexperienced team was a pleasant surprise."
Freshman Savannah Scott of Salisbury, Maryland made a bold first statement of her collegiate career, shooting 74 (+2) to win medalist honors by five strokes. Starting on the back nine at Lexington Golf & Country Club, Scott played steadily and turned at three over par; but then she birdied holes #1 and #2 to return to +1. Late in the round there were four players contending for the individual lead, but Scott pulled away by finishing the back nine at one under par.
One of the players Scott pulled away from was teammate Jesse Bartley, who ended up in a three-way tie for second place after posting 79. Bartley created a little momentum early when she chipped in for birdie on her fourth hole (#13), parred the tough 14th, and then hit her approach on #15 within a foot of the hole for another birdie. The lone senior on the Bridgewater team, Bartley provided some leadership during the heart of the round when she played twelve holes at just two strokes over par.
Sophomores Heather Donnelly and Hannah Woodson have a friendly rivalry on the team, and on Saturday they pushed each other to a pair of 84s, this coming on the heels of Donnelly's 83 (collegiate best) in her last round, the final day of the 2019 ODAC Championship in April. For Woodson, this was her best collegiate number by three strokes. "Heather and Hannah both went through an adjustment period last year when they acclimated to the demands of college golf and got a heavy dose of instruction," noted Rogers. "And now their hard work is bearing fruit."
Woodson chipped-in for birdie on the par-3 4th hole, but not to be outdone, Donnelly followed her in the next pairing by dropping an 8-foot putt for her own birdie. The sophomores finished in a tie for ninth.
Junior Abby Papke averaged 98.5 as a freshman and dropped to 90.9 her second year. She seems poised to continue the trend as she opened the new season with an 85, her collegiate best. Papke played the front nine in 40 strokes and held on to finish in a tie for 12th among 64 players.
The Eagles were also able to put three individuals into action on Saturday. Freshmen Evie Williams and Madolin Neff posted a pair of 89s to start their careers at Bridgewater. Williams had birdies on #3 and the challenging 14th hole, while Neff played her first nine in just 43 strokes.
Freshman Shaina Beach posted 100 in her first collegiate event.
On their way to ringing the bell at Memorial Hall, the Eagles dominated play on the par-4 holes at Lexington, beating the next closest team by 27 strokes. Scott managed a tough collection of par-3 holes by playing them at one-under par.
The Eagles are back in action on September 23 in their home tournament at Lakeview Golf Club.