Florida Tech Starts Off Hot At UIndy Fall Invitational, Leads After Day One
By Space Coast Daily // September 15, 2015
CARMEL, INDIANA – To be the best, you eventually have to beat the best. While the fall season is officially only a day old, the Florida Tech women’s golf team proved on Monday that it certainly has the pieces to at least challenge the best.
Led by the play of senior Felicia Leftinger, the Panthers turned in a collective opening-round 303 to sit atop the leaderboard ahead of defending National Champion Indianapolis following day one at the UIndy Fall Invitational.
“I feel very good about the fact that we came out here and are competing against the national champions,” said Florida Tech head coach Chris Saltmarsh, now in his sixth season with the program.
“I’ve got a good mix of players and I think they might’ve pressed a little bit today, but overall did a good job staying patient. We’re paired with Indianapolis tomorrow and it’ll be a good challenge.”
In return from her All-American season from a year ago, Leftinger carded a one-over 73 in the first round to put herself in contention just one stroke behind leader Casey Wild of Tarleton State.
Overall, the Swede finished with three birdies, including a pair on the final two holes.
Currently in 11th, 2015 national qualifier Guro Rambjoer posted a four-over 76 after parring her last seven holes of the afternoon.
Meanwhile, newcomers Brittany LaPadula and Paola Ortiz kick-started their Panther careers with identical 77’s to cling to ties for 12th.
“Brittany’s a seasoned veteran,” Saltmarsh stated.
“She just made her debut with the Panthers, but was an All-American at Limestone. I knew what to expect from her. She’s putting her best foot forward, and I know she didn’t play the round of golf she wanted but it’s early.
“Paola played great. Although she had some double-bogeys, some of those came with bounce-back birdies. That type of resiliency from a freshman is awesome,” said Saltmarsh.
Together the Panthers are in familiar territory following four consecutive victories the previous fall, something Saltmarsh admits has been mentioned but more so to build upon moving forward.
“It is a fresh season but history is what sets those benchmarks to do better,” he said. “We’ve been putting in some good rounds, a lot of work. The girls all want it bad for each other, and I think that’s going to be the makings of a great team and great year.
“We’re starting off with a deeper much field this year, yet have certain expectations for ourselves. Winning four in a row again in the fall would be great, but I think we have to start one at a time and finishing off tomorrow’s round with a victory would be a good start.”
The final round at Prairie View Golf Club will tee off with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Team Standings Top-10
1. Florida Tech (+15) 303
2. Indianapolis, U. of (+18) 306
3. Dallas Baptist (+21) 309
4. Tarleton State (+22) 310
5. St. Edward’s (+28) 316
T6. Findlay (+30) 318
T6. Sonoma State (+30) 318
8. St. Mary’s (Texas) (+32) 320
9. California-Pa. (+33) 321
10. Central Oklahoma (+34) 322