March 17, 2013

Barnes and Spartans Lead Monterey Bay Invitational

Monterey, Calif. – Spartanburg native and USC Upstate standout women's golfer Taylor Barnes shot a 77 to take the individual lead and spur the team to first place after the first round of the Monterey Bay Invitational Sunday afternoon.

Barnes opened with a 77 and owns a one-stroke lead heading into the second round of the 54-hole tournament being played at the Del Monte Golf Club, which is part of the Pebble Beach Golf Resort. She leads Western Illinois' Kelsea Visalli, who opened with a 78. Visalli is playing as an individual in the tournament.

"Taylor epitomized working a good plan and having fun while playing well," said Upstate head coach Todd Lawton. "She was consistent in every way and played very nicely on the holes a lot of players struggled with."

Barnes' effort helped lead Upstate to a shoot an opening round 322 to take the lead in the tournament. The Spartans own a six-stroke advantage heading into Monday's second round.

"I am very proud of our players and assistant coach (Audrey) Church," said Lawton. "Our focus was excellent and they all made a course that has incredibly challenging greens and lots of rolling terrain fun, which was exciting. Del Monte is the original Pebble Beach golf course and has a wonderful tradition. We are excited about playing tomorrow and competing."

Drake, which is the host of the tournament, is second at 328 and is followed by Cal State Bakersfield (334), Western Illinois (336), Northern Colorado (336) and South Dakota (340).

While Barnes led Upstate in the first round, the Spartans have four players who are in the Top 10 on the individual leaderboard. Amanda Hall (Tega Cay, S.C.) opened with an 81 and is tied for fifth. Brittany Lowe (Spartanburg, S.C.) and Rachel Reiling (Littleton, Colo.) both shot 82 and are tied for ninth. Malika Allie (Cape Town, South Africa) opened with an 85 and is tied for 19th.

The tournament continues with the4 second round on Monday and will wrap-up with the final round on Tuesday.

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