Florida Southern, Barry lead Golfweek Div. II Fall Invitational after Day 1

Courtesy: Lacey Tucker

Florida Southern, Barry lead Golfweek Div. II Fall Invitational after Day 1

College

Florida Southern, Barry lead Golfweek Div. II Fall Invitational after Day 1

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HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. – Lacey Tucker didn’t get serious about golf until freshman year of high school and was on the fence about playing at the collegiate level until older brother Johnny convinced her to give Florida Southern a hard look last fall.

Johnny, now a sophomore on the men’s team, helped the Mocs reach the semifinals of last year’s NCAA Championship.

Now two months into her career at FSC, Lacey hopes this becomes a family tradition for all the Tucker kids. The bad news for women’s coach Robbie Davies, however, is that Lacey’s three younger siblings are all boys: Clay (17), Cody (14) and Cade (10).

Late bloomers to the game often enjoy a nice surge in college, and Lacey has delivered early for the Mocs, posting the second-best scoring average (74.40) behind fellow freshman Loren Perez (73.40).

GOLFWEEK FALL INVITATIONAL SCORES: Men | Women

“You just never know with freshmen sometimes,” said Davis, who was delighted to note that Lacey had cut more than three strokes off her high school scoring average.

At the Golfweek Division II Fall Invitational, Tucker posted an even-par 72 in the opening around, matching the efforts of Perez and senior Amanda Gartrell. The Mocs lead top-ranked Dallas Baptist by three strokes at 6-over 294. There are six women’s teams ranked inside the top 25 of the WGCA Coaches Poll at Mission Inn’s Los Colinas Course.

The Tucker family: Johnny, Lacey, Clay, Cody and Cade in the summer of 2018. Photo courtesy Lacey Tucker.

This is the same track Lacey played the state championship on every year at Bishop Kenny High. She can already tell how much she has grown in a short period of time.

“I’m happy because all four years of states,” she said, “I couldn’t mentally keep it together.”

Teams went out in the afternoon to begin the second round but were called off the course due to weather after playing only a handful of holes. Scores from the afternoon round were wiped out and the event has been reduced to 36 holes. The second round will start afresh on Tuesday morning with an 8 a.m. shotgun.

On the men’s side, Barry had its lead up to 10 strokes when play was called for the day. With the second-round scores erased, Barry now leads Lee by six shots after an opening 8-under 280.

Veteran coach Jimmy Stobs didn’t mince words after the Buccaneers lost to more teams in their opening fall event (eight) than they did in all of last season.

“Disappointing start but there is a long way to go,” Stobs said. “Nobody remembers who wins the Cougar Invitational. We need to work harder.”

After dominating regular-season play in 2018-19, Barry won the SCC Championship by a mind-blowing 20 shots. Given the strength of the conference, it was a massive statement.

After advancing through the South Region at Mission Inn, Barry topped the stroke-play portion of NCAAs by seven shots before losing in the first round of match play.

Three of the players in Barry’s lineup competed at regionals here last spring, yet the Buccaneer leading the field is freshman A.J. Ewart, who carded a 4-under 68 on the El Campeon Course. Stobs was especially pleased with how well his team navigated the tough holes on the front nine – 3, 4, 5 ,7.

Stobs is right. Regular-season titles aren’t what’s talked about for generations to come. Barry has won three NCAA Championships – 2007, 2013, 2014 – so Stobs knows first-hand what those rings mean to a program.

But he also knows that winning is a habit. And the Golfweek Fall Invitational is a fine place to get that momentum rolling for the Buccaneers.

“Most of the time in sports you lose, and it’s really disappointing,” said Stobs. “But when you dominate all year and then you have one bad round, first round of match play, to a good team, they played well, but we didn’t play our best, and we went home. It’s disappointing, but that’s why we play sports, to be in the hunt, to be in the conversation.”

To be that team everyone is talking about.

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