The Daytona State College Women’s Golf team won their second regular season tournament in a row by coming back to win the USF/Waterlefe Invitational Golf Tournament Tuesday afternoon at the Waterlefe Golf and River Club in Bradenton, Fla.
The 19-team leader board included teams from the University of South Florida, University of Miami, NOVA Southeastern, Stetson University, and Colorado State University.
The Daytona State Falcons came from behind to finish eight shots ahead of the NCAA Division II National Champions, NOVA Southeastern, in a hotly contested match. The University of South Florida placed third, 24 shots behind the leaders. Middle Tennessee State and Southern Mississippi rounded out the top five.
The Falcons were led by tournament champion Mitsuki “Mickey” Katahira, whose eight-under-par 208 was seven shots ahead of second place finisher Shena Yang of the University of South Florida. Katahira, who was leading the tournament after the first day’s action, was one of only two finishers under par for the three round event.
Ericka Schneider, who has accepted a golf scholarship to Ole Miss, placed fourth for the Falcons with a two-over-par 218, while sophomore Amy West finished tied for 12th with a 10-over-par 226. Freshman Kelly Miller tied for 27th with a 16-over-par 232, and sophomore Cassie Cleary tied for 77th with a 32-over-par 248. Freshman Kaylee Random played as an individual and placed in a tie for 84th with a 34-over-par 250.
“For me, this tournament proved that my players have the competitiveness and the strength to stay focused and bring their best game to the course when they need it the most.” commented Falcons head coach Laura Brown. “We’ve got a long season ahead and these players have set the bar high for themselves. I am impressed with what they have shown me so far and am looking forward to seeing how the rest of the season plays out.”
After the conclusion of the first day of action, the Falcons found themselves three shots behind NOVA Southeastern. However, strong finishes on the second day of action by Katahira, Schneider, West, and Miller all combined to rally the Falcons past NOVA Southeastern for the team title. This is the first loss for NOVA Southeastern in six straight events.
On coming from behind to win the tournament, Brown commented, “This win was huge for my team. My players have wanted a chance to beat NOVA since last season when they finished behind them twice in two outings. They had the opportunity yesterday and stepped up and accomplished their goal, and I am extremely proud of them."
"They all knew waking up on the final day that each of them needed to produce a solid round of golf to come back from the three-shot deficit. They all stepped up when it counted the most, and I am extremely happy for each of them. As a coach, we love to see our players take it upon themselves to perform as well as possible for the sake of the team. Today, those individual efforts really paid off.”
The Daytona Falcons are in action again this weekend, as they are competing in the Xavier Invitational at the LPGA International Golf Club in Daytona Beach, FL on October 8-10. They are defending champions in this event.