Eight months after leaving USC Beaufort to become High Point’s coach, Alexis Bennett saw her first visit back turn into a big victory, as the Panthers steadied themselves at Sunday’s finish to win the Low Country Intercollegiate by three strokes at Moss Creek Golf Club.
Tonrak Tasaso fired a 5-over-par 77 and fellow freshman Samantha Vodry posted a 79, helping High Point post the second-lowest team total (318) for the second consecutive day. Only Gardner-Webb went lower on Sunday (316), but could not make up a five-shot deficit to the Panthers.
High Point finished with a two-day total of 638, with Gardner-Webb at 641. Seton Hall was another three strokes back, with USC Upstate in fourth.
“I am incredibly proud of this team today,” Bennett told a school liaison. “We got off to a really poor start, but mid-round were able to really turn it around and finish stronger than we have all season. The determination and maturity the girls displayed today was what really impressed me.”
Sunday’s victory was just High Point’s eighth tournament win in program history, and the Panthers’ first since 2014.
“It’s a big step in the right direction to grab the first victory for the program in three years,” Bennett said. “I’m so excited for the direction in which we are headed.”
Bennett came to High Point in July, following a three-year stint at USCB that was capped by last year’s eighth-place finish at the NAIA Championship. The Sand Sharks were conference runners-up in two of her three seasons.
USCB also was at Moss Creek this weekend, finishing 15th. Franzi Knoetsch paced the Sand Sharks with rounds of 84-82, leaving her in a tie for 39th.
Presbyterian’s Celia Mansour took individual honors, following up her opening 73 with a 77 that left her five shots clear of Seton Hall’s Sammie Staudt. High Point’s Tasaso and Vodry were another stroke back in a tie for third.