PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The Jacksonville University women’s golf team got its 2013 fall season underway on Monday, hitting the links for the 2nd Annual Hughes Cup at the TPC at Sawgrass. The Dolphins and the University of North Florida played 18 holes at the Dye’s Valley Course in the morning with a combination of alternate shot and best ball play, before breaking into singles matches in the afternoon at the Stadium Course, home of the PGA’s PLAYERS Championship. Following a 3-3 deadlock in the morning session, JU claimed three of the five completed singles matches to take a 6-5 lead. With Francesca Yong and UNF’s Lauren Coe all square through 17 holes and a halved 18th clinching the victory for the Dolphins, the weather intervened with rain and lightning strikes, forcing a halt to play. The resulting tie gave each team a half-point and wrapped up a 6.5-5.5 win for Jacksonville.
Starting off the morning on the front nine of Dye’s Valley, North Florida took a 2-1 lead with the alternate shot format. A loss from Yong and Sabrina Rumbaugh on the ninth hole was offset by a final-hole victory from the pairing of Jessica Welch and Christina Paulsen. Wasting no time in getting started on the back nine of the course, the switch to best ball suited JU well, as the Dolphins responded by winning two of the three available points. Welch and Paulsen again earned a point for Jacksonville, and were joined by Natalie Schmett and Morgan Matchett, who came from 2-down to clinch the win on the 18th green.
Though she was the third match to start singles play, Schmett put the first point of the afternoon on the board with a 5 & 3 triumph over Emelie Alpe. Schmett was three-under on the front nine and had little trouble securing the victory on the back. Off the tee at the same time, Matchett was locked into a much tighter duel with Kelly Aylwin, but the JU newcomer won the 13th, 14th and 16th holes to turn a match that was all square through 12 into a 3 & 2 win.
Though UNF came back to tie the match with a 3 & 2 win from Belinda George over Rumbaugh, and a 1-up win for Tess Huber over Welch, the lead swung back in Jacksonville’s favor once more after Paulsen put the finishing touches on the 16th hole with a 3 & 2 win against Mary Rodgers to make it 6-5. In the same group, Yong and Coe were engaged in a see-saw battle where only three of the first 17 holes of the round were halved. A birdie from Coe on the famed island green of No. 17 put the match back into a tie just as the lightning strikes that threatened all evening finally became too close for comfort and play was stopped.
The Dolphins will next be in action in two weeks, traveling to compete in the Minnesota Invitational on Sept. 16-17.
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