By COURTLIN HAYGARTH | HSU Sports Network
OKLAHOMA CITY — No. 5 Henderson State extended its first-place lead after the opening round to 20 strokes as the Reddies took first at the Diffee Ford Lincoln Invite with a 1-under 567. Gracen Blount also held onto to her top spot on the individual leader board to finish first with a program-record 3-under 139 at a Par 71 course.
Henderson saw four of their five competitors finish inside the Top-5. Arkansas-Fort Smith took second with a 19-over 587, followed by Southwestern Oklahoma State (21-over 289), No. 18 Oklahoma Christian (25-over 593) and Northeastern State (35-over 603).
After carding an opening-round program record 3-under 68, Blount looked to separate herself even more after shooting 2-under 34 on the front nine. The former-Central Arkansas transfer came back to the field a bit before birdying the Par 4 18th hole to take top honors.
Allie Bianchi increased her standing by one spot with a 1-under 70 after posting team-best five birdies in the final round, finishing alone at second at 2-under 140. Bianchi was the only player in the field to post sub-par rounds in both 18-hole stints, sitting at a tie for first with her teammate before Blount birdied her final hole.
Jinna Boonbumroongsuk matched Bianchi with the best final round of anyone in the field with a 1-under 70. Lily Nelson, who claimed her second eagle of the tournament during the final round, matched Boonbumroongsuk as both players posted a 36-hole score of 2-over 144 to tie for fourth place.
Daphney Tilton rounded out the Reddie five-bag with a 6-over 148 to finish alongside four other golfers for 17th place.
Henderson St. will head to the Sunshine State next when it takes on the Emerald Coast Classic hosted by the University of Missouri-St. Louis March 13-14.
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