Freshman Xianmei Jin is in second place overall after shooting a 143 on Day One.
Oct. 21, 2013
By Tyler Wooten
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Saluki women's golf is currently in the lead at the Blue Raider Invitational hosted by Middle Tennessee State after a dominant first day of competition where no Saluki shot worse than a 78.
Southern shot a remarkable 593 in 36 holes on Day One, the third-best mark in Saluki history. SIU's first-round team score of 298 ties as the 13th-best 18-hole score, and its second-round score of 295 ranks as the sixth-best round score in SIU history. The Salukis currently hold a three-stroke lead over Jacksonville State and Lamar heading into the final round on Tuesday.
SIU's success is due in large part to an excellent performance by freshman Xianmei Jin, who posted a career-low round of 70 in the first round. Jin shot a 73 in the second round to put her at 143 overall, which ranks second individually in the tournament and four strokes behind the leader, Morehead State's Anna Appert-Lund (139).
Jin's first round score is the second-best on the team thus far in 2013, ties as the second-best first-round score in SIU history, and her 36-hole score of 143 is tied for fifth all-time at SIU.
"There were highlights from all five players in both rounds, but Xianmei as a freshman played outstanding," said head coach Alexis Mihelich. "Any tournament where a freshman comes in playing that solid means it will be a good day."
Seniors Ashleigh and Cassie Rushing recorded solid outings as well as they are both tied for 12th individually at 149 through two rounds. Cassie began with a 77 but bounced back in the second round with an even par round of 72, and Ashleigh was consistent with a first-round 75 and a second-round 74. Cassie now stands at 68 career rounds below 80, one behind SIU all-time leader Kelly Gerlach.
"Today demonstrated that this is a team game," Mihelich said. "Every person played solid and stepped it up when they had to."
"They carried each other for two consecutive rounds," Mihelich said. "Some were making birdies and some were grinding it out. In either effort, I'm pleased with their determination to put the lowest possible score on the card that they could for that specific hole or round."
Southern will defend its three-stroke lead in the final round on Tuesday, which will begin at 8:30 a.m.
Individual Results (Through two rounds):
2. Xianmei Jin: 70-73 (143)
t-12. Cassie Rushing: 77-72 (149)
t-12. Ashleigh Rushing: 75-74 (149)
t-35. Brooke Cusumano: 76-77 (153)
t-40. Kris Grimes: 78-76 (154)
Team Results (Through two rounds):
1. Southern Illinois: 298-295 (593)
t-2. Jacksonville State: 304-292 (596)
t-2. Lamar: 296-300 (596)
4. Morehead State: 304-295 (599)
5. Middle Tennessee State: 303-297 (600)
6. South Alabama: 298-303 (601)
7. Troy: 306-299 (605)
8. Murray State: 302-309 (611)
9. Tennessee Tech: 307-306 (613)
10. Arkansas State: 315-299 (614)
11. Arkansas-Little Rock: 313-305 (618)
12. Missouri-Kansas City: 314-306 (620)
13. Belmont: 312-310 (622)
14. Austin Peay: 322-311 (633)
15. Texas-El Paso: 319-316 (635)