March 14, 2010
Spartanburg, S.C. - After the entire tournament was washed out by thunderstorms at the EKU/El Diablo Invitational Thursday and Friday, the USC Upstate women's golf team will hit the links Monday and Tuesday in the Winthrop University Invitational at the Rock Hill Country Club. The 54-hole tournament wills have teams play 36 holes on Monday and finish with 18 holes on Tuesday. The Rock Hill Country Club plays at 5,900 yards and is a par-72 layout. The Spartans are making their second straight appearance in the tournament and finished eighth in last year's event. The squad also played in a spring tournament hosted by Winthrop in Rock Hill two years ago, though it was a different tournament played on a different course.
Upstate will be one of 11 teams in the tournament, including defending champion and host, Winthrop. Joining the Spartans and Eagles in the event are Belmont Abbey, Findlay, Gardner-Webb, High Point, Marshall, Presbyterian College, St. Francis, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Xavier. Gardner-Webb, High Point, Presbyterian College, Upstate, Winthrop and Wisconsin-Green Bay are all making repeat appearances in the tournament.
Upstate will send the lineup of Jennifer Judge, Cheryl Lo, Johanna Ebenhag, Marissa Clontz and Natalie Buch into the tournament this week. Judge led the Spartans at the Red Rocks Intercollegiate at the end of February and looks to get off to a good start in the tournament Thursday. She shot consistent rounds of 78, 80 and 80 in last year's tournament.
Looking Back At The Red Rocks Intercollegiate
Three Spartans lowered their scores from the first round to the second as Upstate shaved 10 strokes off of their first round score, but the Spartans could not move up the leaderboard and finished 18th in the Red Rocks Intercollegiate on Feb. 27-28 in Sedona, Ariz. The Spartans opened with a 350 and finished with a 340. Jennifer Judge led Upstate, posting rounds of 86 and 79 to finish tied for 44th. Natalie Buch cut seven strokes off of her first round score, while Marrisa Clontz shaved five from her opening round to lead the improvement on day two. Northern Arizona claimed the team championship.
Despite struggling to get consistency on the course and post lower scores, Upstate has shown positive movement in the last two tournaments. The Spartans have lowered their team scores in each of the last five rounds, starting with the 54-hole Edwin Watts/Kiawah Island Classic and continuing with the 36-hole Red Rocks Intercollegiate. For Upstate to work itself up the ladder on the leaderboard, continued improvement in the scores is a must.
Judge Back In The Lineup
After sitting out the first tournament of the spring, Jennifer Judge returned to the lineup in the Red Rocks Intercollegiate and assumed her role as the leader of the team. She topped the squad with scores of 86 and 79 to finish tied for 44th as the low Spartan in the tournament. She has posted the low tournament total in each of the six tournament she has played in this year. Last season, she finished as the second-lowest Spartan in each of the six tournaments she played in the spring after transferring to Upstate from Southern Miss. She has posted four of the top five lowest rounds of the season and has the Spartans' lone top 10 finish, tying for 10th at the Boscobel Intercollegiate in the fall. She has shot rounds in the 70s in seven of her last eight rounds, including six in a row over a three-tournament span in the fall.
Judge Moves Up The Record Books
Playing in her third semester in the program, Jennifer Judge has begun to make a name for herself at Upstate. She has begun an assault on the record books, moving into second place on the Spartans' stroke average and winning percentage lists. She owns a career stroke average of 80.3 and trails Richelle Wedzik, who owns the career record at 79.3. Wedzik also owns the top spot with a .714 winning percentage. Judge, though, is right behind her with a .666 winning percentage. She currently owns a 79.2 stroke average for the year, a figure that would rank as the second-best single-season winning percentage behind Wedzik's 77.8 percentage for the 2006-07 season.