The Tennessee women’s golf team hosted the 21st annual Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship at Cherokee Country Club in Knoxville from Monday, Sept. 18 to Tuesday, Sept. 19.
The Vols carded a final score of 860 (+8) — the tenth-lowest score in tournament history — to finish in third place, 20 strokes behind first-place Illinois and 19 strokes behind second-place Kent State.
Tennessee finished the tournament’s last round on Tuesday with a score of 280, the fourth-lowest in tournament history.
“Yeah, it was really great to have a good day today,” head coach Judi Pavon said. “(Assistant coach Mandy Moore) and I were pretty nervous there at the end. We had a couple bogies … but had some birdies to finish. And so it feels really good to be on the better side of that.”
Part of the Vols’ success came from senior Anna Newell. The Tampa, Florida, native shot sub-70 in all three rounds of the tournament and was perfect in her final 18 holes of the tournament, registering three birdies.
In all, she shot 206 (-7), with individual round scores of 69-69-68 respectively. Newell would finish sitting alone at third.
“This is my last tournament. It’s bittersweet. One final time around Cherokee. It was a good way to reflect,” Newell said.
Pavon was also impressed with Newell’s performance.
“Anna was really steady all week,” Pavon said. “She hardly made any bogies, barely missed any greens. And she was just really determined to have a good last Mercedes (tournament).”
Newell was not the only standout performer for the Vols. Senior Blakesly Warren and freshman Waverly Whiston both finished inside the top 40, with Warren tying for 14th and Whiston finishing in a draw for 34th.
Warren had an impressive last round, shooting for 68 and carding a final score of one under 212. Whiston took her No. 34 finish with a final round of 70 and a final score of seven over 220, her best score since joining the Vols.
“Waverly is always smiling, always waving, and Blakesly played in front of me all three days, which was really nice because you had seniors finishing out strong together,” Newell said.
Sophomore Micheala Williams finished two strokes behind Whiston with a score of 22, which landed her tied for No. 43. Mariah Smith shot for 54 holes and marked a finish of 226, which was good for a tie at No. 62.
Ariana Macioce, Haley Wagner and Allison Herring all shot individually. Macioce paced the pack, tying Williams for No. 43 with a finishing score of 22. Wagner participated in her first tournament for Tennessee on Monday and Tuesday, competing in 54 holes and tying for No. 56 with a shot of 226. Herring finished last out of the Vols, with a score of 22 over 235 to tie for No. 78.
“Everybody should feel really good about the way they fought and the way they played this week,” Pavon said.
Tennessee’s next contest will take place on Oct. 1, when the Vols will compete in the Magnolia Invitational in Starkville, Mississippi.