Two players place in top five

Age is just a number. Just ask freshman Maria Ronderos.

After a first round in which Ronderos shot a three-over par (76) for eighth, she dropped three strokes to shoot par for the course on Tuesday afternoon and tied for second (76-73-149) at Georgia State’s 15th John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate at Eagle’s Landing Country Club.

“Maria has been working hard and it’s paid off,” head coach Lela Cannon said. “She got second, which is great as a freshman.”

As a team, the Hurricanes finished 12th out of 15 teams with a score of 652, shooting 326 in each round, though they fielded only three golfers when freshman Brooke Stuart fell ill. Host Georgia State defeated Jacksonville State in a one-hole playoff after both teams shot a 613 over the two-round, 36-hole tournament.

Senior Jessica Steward also placed in the top five and tied for fourth place by firing a 78 (72-78-150). The tournament marked Steward’s fifth top-10 and third top-five finish of the year. Meanwhile, freshman Christina Hirano finished tied for 25th (80-77-157) and Stuart ended up in 80th (98-98-196).

“[Jessica] just didn’t play well yesterday and the weather was terrible – it was 40 degrees, raining and windy and our girls are used to good weather,” Cannon said. “It’s hard to play in and we don’t practice in it.”

On Monday, Steward was tied with Georgia State freshman Sandra Maier for first with a one-under par 72. Steward shot a three-under par on the front nine. Hirano and Stuart had finished 30th and 79th place, respectively, on the first day of competition.

Miami completed the first round 11th out of 15 teams with a score of 326 while host Georgia State took a lead with a 300, eight shots ahead of second place Jacksonville State.

Starting Monday, the Hurricanes host the Canes and Cardinal Classic at Don Shula’s Golf Resort for three rounds and 54 holes in Miami Lakes. Three rounds of the ACC tournament follow less than two weeks later. Injuries have hampered the team, but players are expected to rejoin the squad in upcoming weeks.

Christina De Nicola may be contacted at