Playoff Birdie From Neger Gives Stetson Team Title At Hatter Classic

Playoff Birdie From Neger Gives Stetson Team Title At Hatter Classic

LONGWOOD, Fla. (gohatters.com) – As the rain once again began to fall Tuesday afternoon at Alaqua Country Club, Stetson junior Erikah Neger stared down an important 12-foot birdie putt.
 
The host Hatters were on the second playoff hole against Barry to determine the winner of the Hatter Classic after the two teams finished the rain-shortened 36-hole event tied atop the leaderboard. Both teams shot matching rounds of 296 in both rounds.
 
The event, which was scheduled for 54 holes, was limited to just 36 by torrential rainfall on Monday that left the final two groups needing to arrive early on Tuesday to complete.
 
Stetson had a chance to close out the team title during regulation play, but Neger and fellow senior Justine Lauer both bogeyed their final hole of the day on Tuesday, dropping the Hatters into a tie.
 
The teams went to a playoff to determine a winner, with all five players for each team playing the par three final hole, with the four best scores counting.
 
Both teams negotiated the first playoff hole with four pars to force a second hole. As the rain began to fall, junior Sarah May hit her tee shot short and right of the hole. Neger followed with the shot of the playoff, leaving her 12-feet away, and above the hole. Meghan McLean followed with a shot just off the green near May.
 
The two Barry players playing in the first group – Alice Gothbring and Noemie Pare – both missed the green with their tee shots, one left and one right.
 
May had a nice chip to within a foot of the hole, leaving an easy par putt, and McLean saw her birdie try slip just off the edge of the hole, also leaving a tap-in par. Both Barry players got to within seven feet of the hole on their second shots before Neger drained her birdie to put the pressure on.
 
Gothbring and Pare both missed their par putts, settling for bogey and leaving the Hatters with a huge advantage.
 
As the rain continued to come down, Lauer put her tee shot on the green and freshman Wendy Hsiao put hers to within eight feet of the hole. The three remaining players from Barry were not as fortunate, with two missing the green and the other leaving herself a very long putt.
 
The Hatters sealed the win when both Lauer and Hsiao tapped in par putts.
 
For the Stetson squad, it was the first tournament victory since taking the title at the 2017 Butler Bulldog Florida Invitational in Jacksonville. It was also the eighth consecutive Stetson win at the Hatter Classic, which returned this year for the first time since 2013.
 
It wasn't just the team title that needed extra play to be decided. Medalist honors also needed an extra hole to be decided with Symone Henriques of Daytona State closing out Helen Kreuzer of Lynn University with a birdie on the first playoff hole. Both players finished regulation at even par 144 in the two-day event.
 
May was the top finisher for Stetson, tying for fifth at three-over par 147 after rounds of 74 and 73. Neger earned her second consecutive top 10 with a five-over par total of 149 following rounds of 74 and 75.
 
Lauer rallied with an even par 72 in the second round to tie for 16th at six-over par 150. Junior Hanna Kiefer, who played for Stetson's "B" team in the event, also tied for 16th after rounds of 76 and 74.
 
Hsiao tied for with a seven-over 151 while McLean struggled in the second round, finishing with an 87 after an opening round 73 to tie for 37thBianca Sol Cruz also tied for 37th after rounds off 77 and 83.
 
Junior Harlie Valinho bounced back from a tough opening round with a 78 on Tuesday, Freshman Katelyn David posted an 83 on Monday, but was under the weather on Tuesday and withdrew from the tournament.
 
Stetson's primary group now has four top five finishes this fall and will close out the fall campaign October 20-22 at the FIU Pat Bradley Invitational at Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club near Bradenton.

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