On February 16th, 2019, a talented field of NCAA Division One women’s golfers descended on Reynolds Lake Oconee for the 2nd Annual Reynolds Lake Oconee Invitational hosted by Mercer University.

Held at The National golf course, the 54-hole stroke play tournament featured Top-25 squads from Vanderbilt University, Auburn University, and Clemson University, along with a bevy of talented individuals competing for the title.

In the end, Vanderbilt proved why they are ranked 6th in the nation as they stormed back to win in a thrilling finish. Local favorite – and tournament host – Mercer University finished a close second, with the University of Kentucky and Texas Tech University tying for third.

Individually, Sofia Garcia of Texas Tech took home the title with an impressive total score of 213. Auston Kim of Vanderbilt and Payton Schanen of Mercer tied for second with a total score 216, while Hee Ying Loy of Eastern Tennessee State University came in fourth at 218. Abbey Carlson of Vanderbilt, ranked 26th in the latest NCAA Individual Rankings, came in 5th.

Michele Drinkard, Mercer University's women's golf head coach and tournament organizer, says that the draw of Reynolds Lake Oconee allowed for such an expansive and talented field. “We had to turn a few teams away this year,” Drinkard said. “The national recognition and cachet Reynolds has within the golf community helped generate the interest we had for the Invitational.”

For Coach Drinkard, Mercer’s proximity to Reynolds is also beneficial for her program. “Having the opportunity to come and play Reynolds [they try to play several times each year] is huge for our program, both from a play and recruiting standpoint. We have home courses here in Macon, but we include Reynolds in our home courses on all recruiting material as the Top-100 courses at Reynolds are a huge draw to a potential recruit.”

After their strong showing, she is looking forward to the rest of their season as well as returning to host the Reynolds Lake Oconee Invitational again in 2020.

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