RAPID CITY, S.D. — Jordan Davis drained a key birdie putt on the 17th hole that helped allow her to advance to today’s fourth and final round at the NAIA Women’s Golf National Championships.

Davis, a Maquoketa High School graduate who is a sophomore at Ashford University, shot an 83 Thursday and is tied for 31st with a 243 through three rounds. She survived the 54-hole cut that reduced the field to the top-40 players and ties.

It was a wait-and-see evening when Davis wrapped up her round that began at 1:20 p.m. Coming into the clubhouse, she was tied for 41st and remained one stroke outside the three-round cut. She didn’t have to wait for long, quickly moving inside the cutline and climbing to 37th as the next group turned in its scorecards.

“It’s a pretty awesome feeling right now,” Ashford coach Josh Davis said. “Coming into the tournament, we were just glad to be in it, and down the stretch we knew we had to play well. We’ve been sitting watching the computer and things sort of fell in our favor.”

Jordan Davis rallied to play her final three holes at 1 under par and overcome a series of unlucky bounces, three double bogeys and a few erroneous putts throughout the day.

“It’s such an exciting feeling,” she said. “I really didn’t think about the cut today. Every time I go out, I try to go out and play my game. I don’t try to think about what’s ahead of me but rather playing shot-by-shot, and that’s worked for us this week.”

She held steady on the front nine before making the turn with a par on No. 1. The next five holes would test Davis’ mental toughness as she scattered three bogeys and a pair of double-bogeys. She saved par on No. 7 before coming through with a birdie on a hole she bogeyed the previous two days.

“(No.) 8 was giving us trouble all week, but she hit a great shot with a full 9-iron (118 yards), cleared the bunker and was left with a 5-foot putt for birdie,” Josh Davis said. “Wind is part of the golf course, but it was nowhere near where it was the past couple of days.”

Jordan Davis foreshadowed pin placement as a key element heading into the round and said most of the pins were toward the front of the greens.

“A lot of the pins were tough to hit at because of how hard the greens were,” she said. “Sometimes it would stick and sometimes it would roll off. All day, I was hitting good approach shots to the greens, but the greens wouldn’t hold them.”

Davis’ 83 was her highest round of the tournament, following an opening 81 and a 79 on Wednesday

“Today, an 83 wasn’t the best score, but I had some tough breaks, my driver wasn’t helping me out and I wasn’t making some of the putts like yesterday,” she said. “I’ll be anxious and ready to go tomorrow after a good night of rest.”

Four-time defending NAIA national champion Oklahoma City University extended its lead to 24 strokes over Bethel College (Ind.) and has the top two individuals (Sydney Cox, Ashley Sholer) leading the field.

Midwest Collegiate Conference champion St. Ambrose University was eliminated from the team race, carding a third-round total of 344.

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