Gainesville, Fla. - Wrapping up a twelve-day, two-tournament spring break trip, the Mississippi State women's golf team posted a final-round 15-over-par 295 in the SunTrust Gator Invitational to earn a share of eighth-place, beating No. 18 Baylor and tying No. 6 North Carolina.
The Lady Bulldogs opened the event tying a season-best with a 13-over-par 293. Following a second-round 304 Saturday, they slid into a tie for ninth. The final-round 15-over moved MSU into a tie for eighth, only two shots shy of No. 49 Florida State.
"I could not be prouder of the way the girls battled this weekend," MSU coach Ginger Brown-Lemm said. "This is a challenging course and an even tougher field. We came out focused on our routine and proved we can compete with some of the top teams in the nation. Beating number 18 Baylor is a good accomplishment in itself, but to tie a Top 10 team like North Carolina shows these girls the progress they've made at Mississippi State."
The three-round 892 ties for the seventh-lowest tourney card in MSU history; the second time in as many tournaments MSU has entered a Top 10 lowest tournament clip into the record book.
No. 3 Alabama claimed the SunTrust Gator Invitational title following a 25-over-par 865, while No. 4 Oklahoma (868) and No. 5 Florida (870) round out the Top 3.
Sophomore standout Ally McDonald posted her fifth 69 of the season in the final round to climb into a tie for fourth-place with sixth-ranked Stephanie Meadow of Alabama. Her 4-over-par 214 ranks as the fifth-lowest tourney total in MSU history. The Fulton, Miss., native garnered her fifth Top 5 of the season and dropped her season scoring average to 72.24.
Gabi Oubre' used a final-round 4-over-par 74 to post a career-best 222, securing her first-career Top 25 tally. The freshman lowered her average scoring clip 76.52, the lowest among MSU newcomers.
Sophomore Elena Warren missed her first-career Top 25 by only a single stroke for the second event in a row. Her final-round 4-over-par 74 produced a career-best 223.
No. 31 Chirapat Jao-Javanil of Oklahoma claimed the individual title after a 4-under-par 206 (69-68-69). Portlant Rosen (211) and No. 18 Brittany Altomare (213), both of Virginia, finished out the Top 3.
State ended its two-event spring break trip with a 297.17 average card over six rounds. McDonald posted a 71.50 average in the two tournaments en route to a runner-up and fourth-place finish. Two other Lady Bulldogs recorded Top 25 finishes (Tse and Warren).
"This trip will do wonders for this program," Brown-Lemm said. "A runner-up finish to start the trip in Jacksonville, then a fun week with just the team in Florida was great for team bonding and chemistry. And then for these girls to have the discipline to focus and beat Top 25 teams after a long week is great."
The Lady Bulldogs return to action March 25 in the Briar's Creek Invitational hosted at The Golf Club at Briar's Creek in John's Island, S.C.
Final Round - March 17, 2013
1. No. 3 Alabama (286-293-286=865, +25); 2. No. 4 Oklahoma (285-297-286=868, +28); 3. No. 5 Florida (289-293-288=870, +30); T4. No. 21 Oklahoma State (293-292-292=877, +37); T4. No. 15 Virginia (297-289-291=877, +37); 6. Miami (290-300-298=888, +48); 7. No. 49 Florida State (294-303-293=890, +50); T8. Mississippi State (293-304-295=892, +52); T8. No. 6 North Carolina (301-293-297=892, +52); 10. No. 18 Baylor (296-300-301=897, +57); 12. Chattanooga (302-308-292=901, +61); 12. Florida International (303-302-300=905, +65); 13. San Diego State (312-302-301=915, +75); 14. South Florida (309-311-300=920, +80); 15. Kent State (305-313-306=924, +79).
T4. Ally McDonald 71-74-69=214, +4
T24. Gabi Oubre' 71-77-74=222, +12
T28. Elena Warren 73-76-74=223, +13
66. Mary Langdon Gallagher 78-75-80=235, +25
T67. Rica Tse 81-77-78=236, +26