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Nittany Lion Invitational brings upside for Braves

Bradley women’s golf placed 11th at the Nittany Lion Invitational. Photo courtesy Bradley Athletics.

Last weekend, the Bradley women’s golf team competed against strong programs from Power Five conferences at the Nittany Lion Invitational at Penn State. The Braves took 11th out of 16 competing teams in their second invitational of the young season.

The team played 54 holes in a total of 911 strokes, 11 lower than their showing last week at the Redbird Invitational. Bradley improved in each round, shooting rounds of 308, 304 and 299 recently.

Junior Grace Aromando shot an eight-over-par 224, taking 25th place in the competition. Following her was senior Mara Flaherty with a 227, sophomore Maria Perakis shooting 233, freshman Allison Pacocha carding a 233 and junior Harriet Barker notching a 235.

Head coach Halley Morell loved the improvement she saw on a harder course that was further from home and against tougher competition.

“We hit the ball really well [last] weekend,” Morell said. “We managed the course a lot better; we just struggled a bit on the short game with wedges and chipping and putting for the score. But managing the course and limiting the big numbers was a lot better than the week before.”

The lowest scorer Aromando shot a two-over-par 74 in the first round, 76 in the second and 74 in the third. For her, she felt ready for her second tournament of the season.

“I had a bit of a fire burning and I wanted to live up to my own expectations, so I felt very motivated,” Aromando said.

The junior college transfer from Seminole State knew that she had a consistent struggle on the green, but has used it to give herself something to work on for this week at the upcoming Johnie Imes Invitational.

“I was feeling very consistent, almost too consistent,” Aromando said. “I hit the ball really well; I hit a lot of greens, probably the most I’ve hit in a long time. I just wasn’t getting my putts to drop, but that was at least a consistent problem.”

Morrell thinks there was lots of improvement between the last two competitions and the team is on a great track to keep moving forward.

“I think that last round, even on a tough golf course with really high rough, kinda shows the potential and where we are,” Morell said. “We moved up a lot of spots even with tough competition, so I think we can really use that momentum as we move to Mizzou this week.”

Morell and Aromando both agree that momentum is becoming the key to the team’s success.

“I kind of want to continue learning, so I can keep growing,” Aromando said. “I think the team showed at Penn State what we’re capable of on that last day. I think we’re gonna take that momentum into Mizzou.”

The team heads to Columbia, Missouri for the Johnie Imes Invitational on Monday.

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