NINETY SIX, S.C. – Gardner-Webb posted a solid start to the 2017 Big South Women's Golf Championship Monday, shooting a 298 (+10) to finish the day in third place.
The Championship is being played on The Patriot at Grand Harbor's Championship Course (Par 72, 6,045 yards).
The Runnin' Bulldogs are just two strokes out of second place and nine strokes out of first, trailing Campbell (289, +1) and Charleston Southern (296, +8) heading into Tuesday's action.
The trio of Julia Henderson, Allison Chandler and Wassawan Sangkapong (Mim) each carded rounds of 74 on Monday to finish as part of an eight-way tie for seventh place individually – just one stroke out of a tie for fourth.
Only three golfers shot under par on Monday overall out of a field of 45 golfers.
Henderson used birdies on the first and eighth holes to take the turn at even par (36) and overcame a pair of early bogeys on the back nine – sinking a birdie put on the 18th to finish at 74 for the round.
Chandler, a freshman playing in her first Big South Championship, also shot a 36 through nine holes, carding two birdies – one on the sixth hole and another on the ninth. She also also birdied the 12th hole and shot par over the final two holes of the day to finish at 74.
Sangkapong, also a freshman in her first Big South Championship tournament, had three birdies on the front nine to finish at 1-under par at the turn. She was particularly hot over her final four holes on the front nine, sinking birdies at No. 6 and No. 8 – and pars at No. 7 and No. 9 for a solid finish.
She overcame three consecutive bogeys to start the back nine, pulling through with a birdie on the 14th hole before another bogey on 16. She shot par on the final two holes of the day to finish in a tie with Chandler and Henderson.
Dodson had three consecutive pars to start her day, before running into trouble with a bogey at No. 4 and a double bogey at No. 6. She bounced back by shooting par or better on the next eight holes – including a birdie on No. 13. She finished the back nine at +1 (37) to pull into the pack tied for 16th.
Bertram battled as well after a tough start, pulling into a tie for 27th after 18 holes. The veteran had bogeys on No. 2 and No. 3, but shot par five times in her final six holes on the front nine. Bertram had a key birdie on the 495-yard No. 13 (Par 5) before a stretch that saw three bogeys over the final five holes.
Dodson and Bertram's hard work kept the Runnin' Bulldogs in the hunt, however, as Gardner-Webb was one of only two teams – along with tournament leader Campbell – to place each of its five golfers inside the top-30 by the end of Monday's round.
Gardner-Webb led the field with a 3-under par day on Par 5 holes with an average score of 4.85 strokes. GWU also ranked second in Par 4 scoring (4.24) and third in birdies (12) after 18 holes.
The Runnin' Bulldogs will get back to action on Tuesday morning, teeing off with the final group – beginning with Bertram at 9:40 am. Dodson (9:50), Sangkapong (10:00), Chandler (10:10) and Henderson (10:20) are the tee times for the rest of the Gardner-Webb contingent.
Live results will be available all day via the Big South Conference at golfstatresults.com.