Florida Tech Falls Short To Defending Champs, Wind Up Second At Fall Invitational

By  //  September 16, 2015

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Delicious Digg This Stumble This
Brittany LaPadula (left) and Felicia Leftinger (right) pose following their top-three finishes on Tuesday. (Image by Ryan Thorpe)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Clinging to a three-stroke lead entering Tuesday’s final round at the UIndy Fall Invitational, the Florida Tech Panthers simply ran out of steam.

Together, the team combined to shoot a 13-over 301, but ultimately fell victim to Indianapolis on a day in which the Greyhounds found their championship groove.

Chris Saltmarsh
Chris Saltmarsh

“Everybody was wanting to play well and get off to a good start in their first tournament, we just didn’t do that,” said head coach Chris Saltmarsh.

“I thought we battled very well. Unfortunately, we just dug ourselves a bit too deep. We made a few mistakes early and were never really able to make up for them. Indianapolis played a very good round today. You put up a number like they did and you’re going to give yourselves a chance. We didn’t have it, weren’t able to catch any momentum.”

“I think we hurt ourselves with our putting. I don’t know if it had so much to do with bad putting, but rather facing some two-tiered type of putts and some downhill putts that didn’t look downhill. It was little things like that. I think some frustration kicked in as well, so it was just a combination of things.”

In her first tournament with Florida Tech since transferring from Limestone, junior Brittany LaPadula did her best to keep Florida Tech within striking distance.

One day after scoring a five-over 77, the 2015 Conference Carolinas Player of the Year caught fire on the back nine for six birdies to post a remarkable one-under 71 and finish second overall.

“Brittany played well,” said Saltmarsh. “She didn’t start off with the most confidence, but she’s a fighter. She found some confidence out on the golf course, started hitting some great shots and some big putts. She’s always going to be someone to bounce back, she doesn’t quit. Confidence is big for anybody. For Brittany especially, when she finds it you better look out.”

Felicia Leftinger
Felicia Leftinger

Joining LaPadula on the all-tournament team, Felicia Leftinger carded a four-over 76, good enough for a tie for third.

In addition, Paola Ortiz recorded a five-over 77 for the second consecutive afternoon to share 11th place. Her eight total birdies marked the second-highest total in the field.

Mae Cornforth and Guro Rambjoer each tied for 22nd, giving Florida Tech the only lineup to have all five players crack the top-25 among all 16 teams.

Florida Tech Starts Off Hot At UIndy Fall Invitational, Leads After Day OneRelated Story:
Florida Tech Starts Off Hot At UIndy Fall Invitational, Leads After Day One

Despite coming up short, Saltmarsh believes his team realizes its potential and was able to gain some experience that’ll be crucial down the road.

“The girls know they’re a good team and are going to be competing for tournament victories every time they tee it up,” he said. “I think the fact we left our comfort zone by going to Indiana is going to help us, help build us into a well-rounded team by the time the end of the season comes.”

Next up, the Panthers will return to the links on Sept. 26 in Hilton Head, South Carolina for the Lady Bearcat Invitational, hosted by Lander University.

Team Standings Top-10
1. Indianapolis, U. of (+23) 599
2. Florida Tech (+28) 604
3. Dallas Baptist (+37) 613
4. Tarleton State (+44) 620
5. St. Edward’s (+47) 623
6. Central Oklahoma (+52) 628
T7. Findlay (+60) 636
T7. Sonoma State (+60) 636
9. St. Mary’s (Texas) (+65) 641
10. California-Pa. (+66) 642