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Thursday May 26th

UNC women's golf ties for fourth in Moon Golf Invitational

<p>UNC sophomore Jennifer Zhou takes a practice swing at the Ruth's Chris Tar Heel Invitational on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. UNC placed sixth out of 18 teams at the three day tournament. Zhou finished 5th place overall, her second best in her collegiate career.&nbsp;</p>
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UNC sophomore Jennifer Zhou takes a practice swing at the Ruth's Chris Tar Heel Invitational on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. UNC placed sixth out of 18 teams at the three day tournament. Zhou finished 5th place overall, her second best in her collegiate career. 

The UNC women’s golf team took on a field of 16 schools in Melbourne, Fla. at the Moon Golf Invitational starting on Monday and finishing Tuesday. Their first tournament of 2020 saw the Tar Heels finish in a tie for fourth place overall, with a team score of 867 and one player finishing in the top 10.

What happened?

North Carolina came out strong on the first day of play, posting second-place numbers at the conclusion of the first round with a team performance of 2-under-par.

Individually, sophomore Nicole Lu also got off to an excellent start, posting a career-best 3-under-par 69 in the first round. 

The first day of play was originally slated for 36 holes, but due to darkness the second round was cut short. The last few holes were set to be played the next morning before the third and final round.

After the first day and most of two rounds, the Tar Heels found themselves in a tie for first with Alabama.

The Tar Heels got back out on the course early the next morning for an 8:30 am tee-off to finish up the previous day’s second round. Immediately after, they went into the final round to see if they could hold their lead.

After the promising start for North Carolina, though, the team slipped in the closing round. Senior Brynn Walker was the only Tar Heel player to improve on her score from the first round in both of the following two rounds.

Because of this overall drop in team scoring, UNC saw themselves fall below the tournament champion Ole Miss Rebels as well as Augusta and Louisville, putting the team in a tie for fourth with Alabama.

Who stood out?

Walker’s second and third round performances kept the Tar Heels from dropping too far on the leaderboard in the midst of their late round struggles. After a 1-over-par 73 in the first round of play, she stepped it up and posted two consecutive 1-under-par 71’s to cement herself as a top-ten finisher in the tournament.

Lu’s first round 3-under-par 69 was one of the best rounds of the tournament, only bested by one other player competing as an individual who put up a 68.

When was it decided?

North Carolina was in position to take the victory coming into the second day of play, but a drop-off in scoring in the late second and third rounds prevented this from happening. Four out of the five Tar Heels competing as a team were unable to improve their first round scores that had them in them in this position.

Why does it matter?

UNC showed promise in their first tournament of 2020, greatly improving on the 12th-place finish the team posted in their last tournament in October of last year.

The Tar Heels had the scores after the first round to give them a chance to finish in first place, but just couldn’t capitalize. Still the showing proves they have what it takes to be up there. 

When do they play next?

North Carolina plays again on March 6-8 in Hilton Head, S.C. in the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate. 

@matthew_audilet

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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