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Martin leads the way at C-USA

Last week, before the Conference USA Women’s Golf Championships in Hattiesburg, Miss., USF coach Susan Holt said she expected leaders Kelly Martin and Fany Schaeffer to play well and help the Bulls place high in the tournament standings. She also said that any one of USF’s other players could break out and have a big tournament.

Holt’s high expectations were right on target last weekend, as Martin, Schaeffer and junior Katie Ruhe finished high in the standings and the Bulls placed third.

Martin missed taking home the title by just one shot in the final round of the 54-hole event. She shot a two-under-par 70, but TCU medalist Brooke Tull hit 69 for her 215 total and the win, which also helped TCU win the tournament. Martin also shot rounds of 71 and 75.

“I was happier this year with the second place individual because I played well, gave it my best shot and made up ground in the last round, whereas last year I played poorly in the last round and gave the lead away,” said Martin.

“At least this time I was beaten. I didn’t lose it.”Holt was pleased with Martin’s play.

“I’m both happy and disappointed for Kelly,” Holt said. “She played an excellent round, and fell one shot short, just like last year.”

Also helping to set the tone for the Bulls, Ruhe broke out early, shooting a team-low 70 and helping the Bulls take a first place lead after 18 holes.

“Katie stepped up, and that was big,” Holt said.

Ruhe also completed her best play of the semester with rounds of 75 and 79 and an 11th place finish.

Right behind her was Schaeffer, who finished the event 12th with rounds of 74-77-74.

Despite finishing 12 strokes behind TCU and nine behind Tulane, the Bulls have much to brag about.

Not only did Martin’s scores help lift USF into third, but she also brought home all-tournament honors for her performance.

“I am glad I am playing well again. I haven’t had the most consistent year,” she said. “There have been high and low points, but I’m pleased the year has gone the way it has because I’ve learned a lot mentally, and that can do nothing but help my game.”In addition, Schaeffer’s total of 225 earned her second team all-conference honors for her top performances during the spring semester.

“She hit the ball really well. This is the second year she has made the all-conference team,” said Holt.

Even though the Bulls did not earn first place and the automatic bid for regionals, Holt was pretty pleased overall.

“We played as well as we could have expected. We had our best stroke average of the semester. Normally we shoot 312 per round, and we shot 299 this time. We can’t ask for any more than that,” she said.

“Putting was a factor, and we were not lucky. We didn’t get good positioning on the greens, which didn’t help us with birdies,” said Holt.

The Bulls will find out if they will make the NCAA regionals next Monday when the selection committee meets.

“I was pleased with my personal performance and the team’s performance this weekend. I think we posted some awesome numbers, and we showed a few people what we are capable of. We all hope that it is not too late, and we get to prove ourselves at regionals,” said Martin.