CSU back to competition against elite field at Briar's Creek Invitational

CSU back to competition against elite field at Briar's Creek Invitational

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern returns to competition against a field featuring ten top-50 teams this Monday and Tuesday at the Briar's Creek Invitational in Johns Island. First round shotgun play begins Monday at 8:45 a.m., with the second round immediately following.

CSU Lineup: No. 1 Hayley McNeill, No. 2 Shelby Thompson, No. 3 Emelie Flink, No. 4 Milleina Ohara, No. 5 Bella Johnson-Schmitz

Field (18 Teams): Auburn, Boston College, Campbell, College of Charleston (host), Charleston Southern, East Carolina, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Long Beach State, Louisville, Miami (Fla.), Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Penn State, Texas Tech and Wisconsin

Course: The Golf Club at Briar's Creek – Johns Island, S.C. – Par 72 – 6,101 yards

Live Scoring: www.Golfstat.com

Tee Times: Monday's First & Second Round: 8:45 a.m. (2nd Rd. immediately following 1st)

Tuesday's Third Round: 8:45 a.m.

The event is the first of two in a week's time for CSU, which logged a T-9th place finish two weeks ago at the University of North Florida Collegiate. The Bucs will tee it up again this weekend at the Babs Steffens Invitational in Deland, Fla.

CSU's first appearance in the Briar's Creek Invitational since 2014 gives the program a chance to climb in the rankings and perhaps break the top-100. The Bucs are currently 113th. No. 6 Florida, the defending champion in the event hosted by the College of Charleston, No. 14 Miami (Fla.), No. 27 Ohio State and No. 29 Illinois among the top-30 clubs in the latest Golfstat rankings. Campbell, at No. 52, is the only Big South program ranked higher than CSU.

Paced by Shelby Thompson in the fall and Hayley McNeill in the spring, coach Matt Cram-Smith's Bucs have looked capable of challenging for a top-100 ranking and the conference championship come a month from now. CSU is coming off a strong seven-over par 295, the second best effort of the tournament, in its last competitive round at the UNF Collegiate. McNeill anchored CSU with a one-under 71 in windy conditions, while Milleina Ohara stepped up with a level par 72. McNeill surged into a tie for eighth in the 87-player field, marking her second consecutive top-ten showing.

Thompson has not played to the superb level she did in the fall but was solid at the UNF Collegiate, registering a T-21st finish at ten-over 226. She highlighted the tournament with a second round 74 that featured birdies on three of her first five holes.

Breaking into this week's lineup for the first time this spring will be senior Bella Johnson-Schmitz in the number five spot. Johnson's best effort of the fall was a T-37th finish at the Lady Pirate Intercollegiate.

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