Third Ranked Panthers Claim Second Straight Tournament Win, Knock Off Defending National Champs
By Florida Tech // February 27, 2016
Felicia Leftinger Leads the way as Panthers Could be Ranked No.1 in next poll
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Florida Tech may already be ranked third in the nation, but is making a valid case to take over the No. 1 spot in the polls after claiming its second consecutive tournament title Tuesday.
On the shoulders of Felicia Leftinger, the Panthers carded a collective 37-over 597 to capture the St. Edward’s Invitational trophy by 10 strokes over defending national champion Indianapolis.
The win marks the first time Florida Tech has earned back-to-back victories since Oct. 2014 when it reeled in first-place finishes at the Myrtle Beach Intercollegiate and the Saint Leo Invitational.
Felicia Leftinger paved the way for the Panthers with a score of six-over before losing out on individual medalist honors on the first playoff hole to West Texas A&M’s Glory Jangthongsiri, who repeated as the individual tournament champion for the second straight year.
A WGCA First Team All-American in 2014-15, Leftinger scored well on the Par-4s but gained the most ground on the Par-3s and Par-5s, finishing among the top of the 80-player field in scoring on the respective holes. Her five combined birdies were tied for most in the tournament with three other players.
Brittany LaPadula missed out on back-to-back first-place ties following a final round 77, nevertheless added another top-5 finish to her name after rounding out play just three strokes off the pace.
Paola Ortiz made the biggest leap of any player in the Florida Tech lineup Tuesday. Entering the morning tied for 42nd overall, the freshman fired a four-over 74 to secure a tie for 16th. Just three spots behind Ortiz was Sarah Thomas, who posted a 10-over 80 in the final round, landing her two top-20 finishes in a row.
Guro Ramjoer stumbled on day two, carding a 13-over 83. Once in contention for the title, the Oslo, Norway native ended up tied for 23rd.Despite her struggles, though, Florida Tech was still the only team among the 15 competing to have all five players finish within the top-25.
FIT will look to continue its hot streak when it heads to Orlando for the Peggy Kirk Bell Invitational, hosted by Rollins, on Feb. 29.
Final Team Standings (Top-10)
1. Florida Tech (+37) 597
- Indianapolis, U. of (+47) 607
- Sonoma State (+51) 611
- Northeastern State (+59) 619
T5. St. Edward’s (+61) 621
T5. West Texas A&M (+61) 621
- St. Mary’s U. (TX) (+62) 622
- Arkansas Tech (+63) 623
- Western Washington (+65) 625
- Rogers State U. (+67) 627