The Valparaiso University women’s golf team enjoyed a strong first day of the spring season at the Don Benbow Invitational, hosted by Butler at the par-71, 6021-yard Jacksonville Beach Golf Course in Jacksonville Beach, Fla. Senior Payton Hodson (Middleton, Wis. / Middleton) enters Tuesday’s second and final round in the top five on the player leaderboard.
How It Happened
- Hodson posted a 74 (+3) in Monday’s round, finishing the first day of competition as part of a tie for fourth. She is four strokes behind leader Ally Ross of Butler, who turned in a 70 to sit atop the 80-player field.
- Valpo’s second-best score came courtesy of Anna Fay (Ada, Mich. / Forest Hills), who finished the day in the top 40 (tied for 39th) by posting an 82. Cailey Rooker (St. Joseph, Mich. / St. Joseph) checked in at t-51 with an 18-hole score of 84.
- As a team, Valpo stroked a 325, good for ninth in a 13-team field. Valpo is on top of Radford (331), Evansville (333), Monmouth (335) and Eastern Illinois (368). Furthermore, the Beacons are just one stroke behind Western Illinois, four behind Western Michigan and seven behind a fifth-place tie between Troy and Purdue Fort Wayne.
Inside the Round
- Hodson has the top score among Missouri Valley Conference golfers in a field that also includes instate foes Indiana State and Evansville.
- Hodson’s score represented her best round of the season and tied for the best of her collegiate career. She previously carded a 74 on Oct. 15, 2019 at the Dayton Fall Invitational. She was one stroke away from cracking the top 10 in program history for overall score in a single round.
- Valpo ranks second in par-5 scoring in the tournament field at 5.60.
- The Beacons have four birdies and 45 pars in the tournament. Hodson has two of those birdies and a team-high 11 pars. She also has one of the top par-4 scoring averages in the event at 4.09.
Thoughts from Head Coach Jill McCoy
“I am so proud of Payton. She got off to a great start, kept a level head and played a great round. We are going to focus on grinding until the very end tomorrow. We have a real opportunity to make a move up the leaderboard.”
The Beacons will play the final 18 holes of this event on Tuesday in Jacksonville. Play is slated to start at 8 a.m. Central Time using a shotgun format. A link to live scoring via GolfStat is available on ValpoAthletics.com.