Bethel University takes first round lead in Battle at Blackthorn

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The Bethel University women’s golf team opened up its fall season with a strong first round in the Battle of Blackthorn on Monday.

The Pilots shot a 314 to take a seven-stroke lead into the second day of the tournament at Blackthorn Golf Club in South Bend. Lewis University is currently second after shooting a 321, while Grace Christian is third with a 325.

Paige Sexstella led Bethel with an opening-round 75, which was good for second place in the individual standings. The Pilots’ Brooke Thomas is third with a 76. Jessica Shurety is tied for fifth after carding a 79 on Monday.

Former Dowagiac standout Greta Whitaker shot 91 in her first collegiate match, which is good for a tie for 33rd.

“I’m very proud of the way we played today,” said Bethel Coach Geandra Almedia. “Paige and Brooke were very consistent for the entire round. I’m also very pleased with Jess’s performance. I loved the way she bounced back after a few bad shots. I really enjoyed watching the girls back in action, and I feel like this was a very solid day for us.”

The Pilots’ score of 314 is their lowest since March 25, 2019, at the Connemara Golf Course in Nicholasville, Kentucky at the Asbury Eagles Invitational.

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