Western Kentucky’s women’s golf team continued to bounce back at the UNF Collegiate, improving from its second- to third-round score by three strokes and moving up three spots on the team leaderboard Tuesday in Jacksonville, Fla.

The Lady Toppers finished fifth in the Sunshine State after shooting a final round 10-over 298 for a 54-hole total of 913.

It marks the sixth top-five performance from the team in just seven events this season.

“I’m proud of the way the team fought back each round,” WKU coach Adam Gary said in a news release. “The wind kind of played havoc with us the first day and we dug ourselves a hole, but I’m proud of the gradual bounce-back each round. We were able to move up the most spots of anyone in the final round.”

The final-round surge was a team effort with two Lady Toppers recording their best 18 holes of the tournament on Tuesday at the par-72, 5,926-yard Jacksonville Golf & Country Club. Senior Mary Joiner tied her best score with another 2-over 74 to notch a top-15 finish at 9-over 225 on the event. That marked her fifth top-20 finish of the season.

Freshman Sarah Arnold fired the best score of the day for WKU at 1-over 73. The just-over-par round earned her a tie for 28th, moving her up 20 spots from the second to final round.

Rounding out the Lady Toppers’ scores on Tuesday were juniors Megan Clarke and Olivia Reed. Clarke shot a 3-over 75, while Reed carded a 4-over 76.

Clarke’s 54-hole performance of 10-over 226 tied her for 18th on the leaderboard. Reed finished tied for 61st after improving her first to second round score by 13 strokes.

Seniors Abigail Smee and Bailey Tyree completed WKU’s list of competitors at the Collegiate. Smee competed as an individual and earned her first top-20 finish of the season after shooting a final-round 77. She tied for 20th with a 54-hole score of 227. Tyree played in the Lady Topper lineup and shot a final-round 82, finishing in 67th.

CSU Fullerton’s Brittany Shin won the individual title at 1-over 217 while UNF took home its own trophy at 24-over 888.

For its next event, WKU will host the Spring Break Shootout in Dade City, Fla., on Monday.

WKU men’s golf ties for sixth at Tiger invitational

Western Kentucky’s men’s golf team tied for sixth place at the Tiger Invitational on Tuesday in Opelika, Ala.

The team shot a final-round, 1-over 289, WKU’s lowest score of the three-round event. The Hilltoppers’ 54-hole total was 11-over 875.

“Our guys have put in a lot of hard work over the past three weeks since our first event. This week was a testament to that hard work,” WKU coach Chan Metts said in a news release. “This was also a big step in the right direction for us as a whole.

“We had some solid play from all five guys and that’s something I’m very pleased with. Moving forward, this is only a step in the right direction, and we will be ready to get back to work as soon as we can.”

The low score of the day for the Tops came from junior Caleb O’Toole. He improved by seven strokes from the second to final rounds, shooting a 3-under 69 on Tuesday at the par-72, 7,289-yard Lake Course at Grand National.

WKU’s highest finisher was senior Tom Bevington after he tied for 14th with a 54-hole score of even-par 216. He shot a 3-over 75 on the final day of competition. O’Toole finished just behind him and tied for 23rd overall.

Senior Linus Lo strung together 1-over 73s in every single round to finish at 3-over 219 on the event. He was tied for 28th following O’Toole.

Both junior Chase Landrum and redshirt sophomore Dawson McDaniel marked scores down for the Hilltopper squad as Landrum shot 1-over 73 and McDaniel fired a 2-over 74. Each score was the golfer’s best of the Invitational.

No. 15 Auburn won the team title at 10-under 854, while North Alabama’s Jackson Wedgeworth clinched the individual title at 9-under 207.

Next up, WKU will travel to the Craft Farms Intercollegiate hosted by South Alabama at the end of the month on March 30-31.

– Follow sports editor Jeff Nations on Twitter @Jeff_NationsBG or visit bgdailynews.com.

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