Spangler fires three-under 69 to pace Tech in first round at Draper

DRAPER VALLEY, Va. -- Senior Ashley Spangler, a first-team all-OVC performer last year, is off to a strong start in her final campaign, firing a three-under par 69 Monday in the first round of the Draper Valley Invitational. Her score helped Tennessee Tech to fifth place among the 14 teams at the two-day tournament, which concludes Tuesday.

Elon University carded a 290 team total to grab the lead after the first round, three shots ahead of Western Carolina and seven in front of Charleston Southern. Gardner-Webb is fourth at 299, while Tech is a shot back at 300. It's a tight race for those top spots, with Radford one shot behind the Golden Eagles at 301, Appalachian State and Evansville just three strokes behind at 303.

Elon's Danielle Mills posted a four-under 68 to take the individual lead after the first round, with Spangler a stroke back at 69. Two golfers are tied at 70 and two more at 71.

Tech's second-best score on Monday was posted by sophomore Carley Rhyne with a 73, but it doesn't count toward the Golden Eagles' team score since she is entered as an individual.

Megan Bradford is next on the individual scoreboard for Tech's team total, shooting a 75 to place her in a tie for 18th. Others in the TTU lineup for first-year coach Brandy Stout include Diana Carson (78), Madison Denman (78) and Maegan Sullivan (78), all tied for 34th place.

A year ago, Spangler tied for 27th place at the same tournament and the Golden Eagles finished eighth among the 15 teams in the field.