Natalie Schmett wins the Wendy’s Invitational
In her third career start as a member of the women's golf team, Jacksonville University freshman Natalie Schmett rallied to win a scorecard playoff for her first collegiate title at the Wendy’s Invitational.

Trailing by one entering the final round, Schmett got off to rough start, but rallied with back-to-back birdies at the 15th and 16th holes to pull into a tie for the lead with Marshall’s Allison Harper.

After posting her one-over par, 72, Schmett had to watch Harper finish her round and a bogey at the 18th slipped Harper back into a tie for the title at one-over par for the 36-hole event.

Schmett won medalist honors via a scorecard playoff with the lower score in the final round.

“It’s really special to win,” Schmett said. “I got off to a rough start today, but I felt like if I could play well like I did on the back nine yesterday I would be alright because there are some holes that you can make some big numbers on out there.”

Schmett becomes the first Dolphin to win an individual title since Danielle Gibb won the 2008 Diet Coke Invitational.

“Natalie played really well today and made some clutch shots when it counted late,” said JU head coach Ashley Prange. “The things she’s been working on in practice this past week sunk in and made a big difference in her scoring.”

Trailing Harper and Appalachian State’s Rumbidzai Masamvu by one entering the final round, Schmett got off to slow start with bogeys at the second and fourth to fall to three-over par.

“My favorite spot is to be trailing,” Schmett said. “I like have a little pressure, it makes me play better and focus a little bit more. When I didn’t get off to a good start, I stayed focused on taking it one shot at a time and not on what I needed to do the rest of the holes.”

A birdie on the par-4 seventh got her back to two-over par, but was quickly erased by a bogey on the ninth to make the turn at three-over par.

Schmett made a bogey at the par-4 13th to fall to four-over par and potentially out of contention, but some big-time shots rallied her title hopes.

On the 142-yard par-3 13th, Schmett knocked an 8-iron to eight feet and rolled in the birdie. She followed it up on the par-5 16th by knocking a 58-degree wedge to four-feet for another birdie to get back to one-over par for the tournament.

Pars on the par-4 17th and 18th gave her the lead in the clubhouse, allowing her to watch Harper’s finish.

As a team, the Dolphins finished 11th in the 16-team field, with Marshall winning the team title at 37-over par. JU shot 35-over par round of 319 to fall from ninth place after the first round.

Jessica Welch carded a six-over par 77 to finish in a tie for 23rd at 13-over par. Gaia Olcese shot an 11-over par 82 to finish in a tie for 50th at 19-over par. Morgan Jackson posted an 88 to finish in 74th place while Carlie Gehlhausen finished in 84th.

The Dolphins are off until they wrap up the fall season at the Stetson Invitational on Nov. 7.