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    NCAA Golf Regional Update - May 9th

    Alabama Shoots -11 in First Round of NCAA East Regional

    AUBURN, Ala. – The top-seeded Alabama women’s golf team performed exactly how you would expect the nation’s second-ranked team to perform in the opening round of the NCAA East Regional at the Auburn University Club on Thursday.

    The Crimson Tide fired the program’s lowest round in NCAA tournament play with an 11-under-par 277, which also matches the lowest round of the season and the second-lowest round in school history. Alabama played in the morning flight with the region’s top-12 seeded teams. The afternoon flight is underway now.

    “I had a good feeling about our scoring opportunities on this golf course,” Alabama head coach Mic Potter said. “It reminded me a little of the course at the PING/ASU Invitational, and we played well there. We have a lot of girls that have been in this type of situation before, whether it was in junior golf, the U.S. Open’s or National Championships. They know what the standards are that we want to play to and that is to focus on every shot. It is not winning regionals, it is about scoring to the best of their ability, and they did a great job using their capabilities today.”

    Alabama has a six-shot lead over Arkansas and Tulane, who both carded rounds of 5-under 283. Among teams that have finished their opening rounds, UCLA is in fourth place at even-par 288 with Texas at 289 and North Carolina and Oklahoma State at 2-over-290.

    The top eight finishers at the NCAA East Regional will advance to the NCAA Championships at the University of Georgia Golf Course on May 21-24 in Athens, Ga.

    True freshman Emma Talley fired the lowest round of her young Alabama career with a 5-under 67 and is tied for the tournament lead with Arkansas’ Emma Lavy and Tennessee’s Erica Popson. The Princeton, Ky., native posted a bogey-free round that included a birdie on the seventh, an eagle on the par-5 12th and closing birdies on the 16th and 18th holes.

    SEC Player of the Year Stephanie Meadow also carded a bogey-free round with a 4-under 68 that saw her make birdie on the first, 10th, 12th and 16th holes. She is currently tied for fourth with half of the field still on the course.

    The Crimson Tide also got a sup-par round from junior Hanna Collier, who shot 2-under 70 with four birdies and two bogeys. Senior Jennifer Kirby finished her round strong with three birdies in the final six holes to offset a triple bogey on the 11th for an even-par 72. Daniela Lendl’s 75 was dropped from the team score on Thursday.

    “We have four girls that are All-SEC, the nation’s current scoring leader and the SEC Freshman of the Year, so it is not like they haven’t been here before,” Potter said. “They are very capable of shooting these types of scores day in and day out. What I’m most proud of is their mental capacity to just go out here and stay in the present. They just continue to play one shot at a time – that is all we talk about. They did a great job of that today, and never let the situation affect them.”

    Lavy, Razorbacks near top at NCAA WGF Regional

    AUBURN, Ala. – University of Arkansas junior Emma Lavy fired a career-best 67 and came off the golf course tied for the lead with the No. 5 Razorbacks tied for second at the 2013 NCAA East Regional in Auburn, Ala., Thursday.

    Lavy and the Razorbacks were among the first players and teams finished in the 24 team event and final results will be available later today.

    Lavy, a Fayetteville, Ark., native, put together 18 holes with one bogey and six birdies for a five-under 67.  That mark is one shot better than her previous best of 68 set earlier this season.

    Lavy opened with a bogey on the first hole but responded with a two on the par three second hole returning to even.  She birded four, six and seven to turn three under and added two more on 13 and 14 to finish her round.

    Lavy’s score paced Arkansas to a five-under 283 and they trail second-ranked Alabama who blistered the course with a first-round, 11-under 277.  The Razorbacks are tied with No. 20 Tulane and ahead of No. 8 UCLA with 288, No. 23 Texas with 289 and No. 17 Oklahoma State and No. 11 North Carolina with 290.

    “I got off to an interesting start,” Lavy said. “I was in the woods on one, and I bogeyed the first hold. I told myself to stay patient and stay in it because there are plenty of birdies out there.” I think I just really tried to stay in the shot and not get ahead of myself to the next shot or the next hole or anything. I really tried to commit to what I was doing right then more than anything. I love this course. It’s a good golf course. There’s always a good spot to be in. You can find bad spots, but there’s always an option of a good spot. If you can find those, you can make some putts and play well.”

    Senior Victoria Vela rallied for a one-under 71 and was tied for 15th when she came off the course.  The Mansfield, Texas, native turned even and then bogeyed the 13th hole.  She finished strong with a birdie on the 16th and 18th holes for her 71.

    Freshman Gabriela Lopez shot even par 72 while junior Emily Tubert and freshman Regina Plasencia both counted 73s.

    Lopez, from Mexico City, Mexico, had a balanced scorecard with two birdies and two bogies on each side.  Three of her four birdies came on the par five holes on four, seven and 16.

    Tubert turned at one over after nine holes but she recovered with a birdie on the 12th hole returning to even par.  The Burbank, Calif., native dropped a shot to one under with her third birdie of the round on the 16th hole but a double on the 17th saw her finish with a 73.

    Plasencia’s scorecard was quite for nine holes without a mark to open play.  She bogeyed the 10th hole and finished birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey for her round of 73.

    Three Gators Shoot Career-Lows to Direct UF to NCAA Central Regional First Round Lead

    NORMAN, Okla. - Getting career-low scores from senior Mia Piccio (Bacolod City, Philippines) and junior Elcin Ulu (Istanbul, Turkey), the fifth-ranked University of Florida women's golf team was able to jump out to a one-stroke lead after the first round of the NCAA Central Regional. Piccio tied her career-best with a three-under (69), while Ulu went one stroke better to lead UF with a four-under (68). Ulu also sits in third place on the individual board, trailing only Emily Collins of Oklahoma while Piccio is in a six-way tie for third.

    As a team, the Gators shot a score of 282 (-6) to lead second-place Oklahoma by one shot, its lowest first round score in an NCAA regional since shooting 284 (-4) as a team in 2010. It's also Florida lowest score for a first round in any tournament this year as three Gators shot under par for the day. Along with Piccio and Ulu, freshman Ursa Orehek (Domzale, Slovenia) was able to card three birdies and only two bogeys en route to a one-under (71), which ties for her season-best.

    "We had a nice start to the tournament," Florida head coach Emily Bastel said. "The girls did a great job of managing their way around this course and sticking to the game plan we came up with during the practice round. It's great to have Mia (Piccio), Elcin (Ulu) and Ursa (Orehek) all under par and we'll work hard to do more of the same over the next two days."

    Piccio had the first big shot of the day as she was even par through the first three holes, but was able to hole out an eagle on the par four, 4th. The jump in two shots not only catapulted her to the top of the individual board, but put her team at the top of the overall board also. She was then able to add to her score with a birdie on the par five, 8th, and be at three-under at the turn. Looking to build on her good day, the senior moved to four-under just two holes later with a birdie on No. 10, but a bogey at No. 12 dropped her back to three-under, which will be her starting place on Friday in a tie for third place. For Piccio, it's her first under par round since carding a 71 in the second round of the Betsy Rawls Invitational back in late October and her eighth even or under par round this year. Thursday's round also marks the third time in her career that she has scored a 69 in an NCAA regional.

    Leading all Gators on Thursday was Ulu, who bested her career-low for a round by one shot with a 68 (-4). Two birdies on the front nine with no bogeys left her in good position heading into the back nine. She then proceeded to play the next four holes at two-under to move to her current four-under position. Ulu parred out the remaining five holes to cap her best round of her collegiate career and in second place alone. The junior transfer has been up and down since having her best tournament at the SunTrust Gator Women's Invite in March and shot her only sub-70 round at the Florida Challenge prior to Thursday, However, today's round was exactly what the Gators needed heading into the second round on Friday.

    Rounding out the top three Gator scores and not to be outdone was Orehek, who tied her lowest score for the season with a three birdie day for a one-under (71). It's her lowest round since she carded a 71 in the final round of the Bryan National Collegiate just a few weeks ago and is her second under par round of her young collegiate career. Like her teammates, Orehek got off to a solid start with two birdies and only one bogey to be at one-under going into the back nine. The freshman stayed patient even after bogeying the par four, 11th, and was able to get back to red numbers with a birdie on the par four, 14th hole. Like Ulu and Piccio, Orehek was able to limit the bogeys and will be in a tie for 14th going into Friday.

    As for the remaining two Gators in the field, sophomore Camilla Hedberg (Sitges, Spain) had a solid day as well going two-over (74) to be in a tie for 56th place going into Friday. Hedberg was actually one-under after nine holes with one birdie and no bogeys, but suffered three setbacks on holes No. 10, 11 and 18 to drop back to two-over for the day in only her second regional appearance in as many collegiate seasons. The 74 is still Hedberg's second-best regional round of her career and is her best 18-hole score since shooting a 74 in the second round of the Bryan National Collegiate in late March. Anna Young (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada) finished the day with a six-over (78) to be in a tie for 114th going into Friday's second round.

    Wildcats Conclude Round One of NCAA East Regional

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky women’s golf team wrapped up their first round at the East Regional, firing a 13-over-par, 301. The Wildcats are in a tie for 15th in the 24-team regional played at the Auburn University Club in Auburn, Ala.

    Alabama leads the field at 11-under, while Arkansas and Tulane are tied for second at 5-under. The top eight teams from the regional will advance to the championship finals at the University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Ga., May 21-24. Kentucky is nine shots off from Northwestern and Notre Dame, who are tied for eighth at 4-over-par.

    Freshman Cylia Damerau led the way for the Wildcats, shooting an even par, 72 on the afternoon. The Cham, Switzerland native recorded a team-high three birdies on the day, while posting 12 pars. The freshman is tied for 21st overall in the invitational.

    Senior Betsie Johnson sank two birdies on Thursday on holes 12 and 16 and is 2-over after day one. Johnson’s score of 74 in round one has her tied for 44th overall.

    Freshman Sarah Harris charted a team-best 15 pars in the opening round on her way to shooting 3-over-par, 75. The Hermitage, Tenn., native is tied for 54th in the tournament.

    Senior Ashleigh Albrecht finished the day at 8-over-par and is tied for 104th in the event. Albrecht’s afternoon was highlighted by recording UK’s only eagle on the par-5 hole No. 7. Junior Liz Breed had one birdie on the day, shooting 9-over-par and is tied for 109th in the invitational.

    Kentucky will resume play on Friday and will tee off from hole No. 1 to begin the second round with the final round scheduled for Saturday. Breed will tee off first for UK at 12:50 p.m. ET with Albrecht, Harris, Johnson and Damerau to follow, respectively, in 11 minute intervals.

    Auburn Women’s Golf Tied For 12th After Day 1 At NCAA Regionals

    AUBURN – The Auburn women’s golf team carded an 11-over 299 Thursday in the first round of the NCAA East Regional Championship, finishing the day in a tie for 12th in the 24-team field. Junior Diana Fernandez led the Tigers with a 1-under 71.

    Hosted by Auburn, the NCAA East Regional is a 54-hole stroke play championship will take place at the Auburn University Club in Auburn, Ala. The par-72 course will play at 6,259 yards for the tournament. The tournament field of 24 teams includes nine teams ranked in the top-25 of one of the major polls as well as 11 teams that won their conference tournament.

    “We had a rough start today, but I thought the team rebounded well and did some good things out there,” said student assistant Danielle Downey. “I think they were a little nervous with the high expectations of playing on their home course, but they settled in pretty well and did a good job.”

    The Tigers had an up-and-down day, but it was Fernandez, a native of Asuncion, Paraguay, providing a steady pace. She carded four birdies on the day, finishing tied for 14th with a 1-under 71. Senior Carlie Yadloczky is right behind her with a 2-over 74, tied for 44th. Yadloczky, the lone senior on the team, carded an eagle on No. 16 to highlight her day.

    “Diana and Carlie had good rounds today and did a good job of stepping up and leading us,” said Downey. “They played well and we are looking forward to seeing how they and the rest of the team progress through the weekend. There is still a lot of golf left to play.”

    Junior Marta Sanz and freshman finished the day tied for 70th with 5-over 77s. Sophomore Victoria Trapani is tied for 104th with an 8-over 80.

    Defending NCAA champion Alabama is in the lead after the first day with an 11-under 277, followed by Arkansas and Tulane with 5-under 283s. UCLA (288) is fourth with Texas (289) rounding out the top five. Oklahoma State and North Carolina are tied for sixth with 290s while Northwestern and Notre Dame are tied for eighth. The top eight teams and top two individuals not on advancing teams at the conclusion of the tournament move on to the NCAA Championship in Athens, Ga.

    Gamecocks Tied for Sixth at NCAA West Regional

    STANFORD, Calif. — The South Carolina women’s golf team moved into position to make a weekend run at the NCAA West Regional title as it posted an opening-round 296 (+12) to finish the day in a tie for sixth place on Thursday at the Stanford Golf Course.  

    The Gamecocks, who have won two regional titles in the last three years, are tied with Georgia and trail tournament leader Vanderbilt by just seven strokes. The Commodores turned in a 5-over 289 to take a one-stroke lead over top-ranked Southern California (290). The top eight teams and top two individuals not on those teams will advance to the NCAA Championship.

    “We had some momentum at the beginning, but this golf course is a bear and can be really tough,” South Carolina head coach Kalen Harris said. “You have to be paying attention all of the time. The greens are fast. You have to stay below the hole and have some real precise shots. There are some holes you just have to get through and some shots you have to make out here in order to play well. I thought the team did really well and dealt with adversity well.”

    Sophomore Justine Dreher led the way on Thursday, shooting a 1-over 72 to finish the round in a tie for 15th. She began her day with a bogey at the 10th hole but bounced back two holes later with a birdie on the par-5 12th. After recording another bogey on the 13th, Dreher rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-3 14th to move back to even. A birdie on the 17th left her at 1-under at the turn. She bogeyed three of her first five holes on the back nine before closing out the round with three straight pars and a birdie from the fringe on the ninth hole to get into the clubhouse at 1-over.

    Junior Suzie Lee battled all afternoon on her way to shooting a 2-over 73 to move into a tie for 22nd. She got off to a strong start with birdies on two of her first three holes. However, she closed out the front nine with four pars, a bogey and a double bogey to make the turn at 1-over. She sank a birdie putt on the par-5 first hole to begin the back side. After making three consecutive pars, Lee made bogey and double bogey on the fifth and sixth holes to drop back to 3-over. She responded by making an eagle on the par-5 seventh but gave another stroke back with a bogey on the eighth to finish the day at 2-over.

    Senior Meredith Swanson carded a solid 4-over 75 to wrap up the round in a tie for 46th. She carded six bogeys and two birdies on the day, including one on the par-4 ninth to conclude her round with some momentum. Freshman Sarah Schmelzel also gave the Gamecocks a strong effort with a 5-over 76, which has her in a tie for 63rd. She made four straight bogeys to begin her day but settled down to play the final 14 holes at 1-over. Rounding out the lineup, freshman Mary Fran Hillow carded an 82 (+11) to finish the round in a tie for 114th.

     “I couldn’t be more proud of the way they finished, and that’s what it’s all about,” Harris said. “We are going to have to keep finishing the rest of the week. Hopefully, that will put us in the top eight. I think if we continue to do those things and stay mentally tough that will, hopefully, do the job.”

    Burger Leads Georgia To Solid Start At West Regional

    STANFORD, Calif. --- Paced by a 3-under 68 by Emilie Burger, the No. 18-ranked Georgia women's golf team posted a 12-over 296 in Thursday's opening round of the NCAA West Regional. The Bulldogs are tied for sixth in the 24-team field at the Stanford University Golf Course.

    Burger is second individually and just one shot off the pace of Southern Cal's Annie Park, who shot 4-under 68. The Bulldogs are seven shots behind early leader of No. 7 Vanderbilt, which shot 289.

    The 54-hole tournament continues through Saturday. The top eight teams and the top two individuals not among those squads will advance to the NCAA Championships at the University of Georgia Golf Course on May 21-24.

    "This golf course is really hard and you're going to make a few mistakes out there," head coach Josh Brewer said. "We played a lot of great golf today but unfortunately we made some mistakes late in the round. We came out here trying to compete for a top spot and that's what I expect us to do. We'll clean up a few things and correct those over the next few days."

    Georgia teed off from No. 10 and played the back side of the course first on Friday.

    In addition to Burger's 69, the Bulldogs also counted a 75 from Manuela Carbajo Ré, a 76 from Amira Alexander and a 77 from Kailey Walsh, while dropping Rocio Sanchez Lobato's 78. Overall, Carbajo Ré is tied for 46th, Alexander is tied for 63rd, Walsh is tied for 69th and Sanchez Lobato is tied for 77th.

    Burger blistered the course early, with a trio of birdies to move to 3-under through three holes.

    "This is an intimidating golf course," Burger said. "I decided yesterday that I had to pick targets and aim for those targets. You have to have a lot of trust in the targets you pick, and I decided that was what I was going to do all day today. On No. 10, I hit it within six feet and made my birdie putt. On No. 11, I picked a good target, hit it within 10 feet and made that putt. On 12, I was within six feet and was able to make birdie there also."

    Burger moved to 4-under at the turn with a birdie at No. 18 and dropped further into red numbers with a birdie at No. 2. She posted her first bogey of the day at No. 3 but gained that stroke back with a sixth birdie at No. 6. She closed with a double-bogey at No. 9 to finish at 3-under.

    "Emilie turned in a huge round of golf for us," Brewer said. "That's what your senior leader is supposed to do. Everyone else was struggling a bit and she picked everyone up. She's been practicing and playing very well over the last month so I was not surprised at all that she played so well. I expect her to continue to lead us over the next couple of days."

    MSU Tied For Seventh After The First Round Of The NCAA Central Regional

    NORMAN, Okla. – Sophomores Ally McDonald and Elena Warren paced the Mississippi State women’s golf team to a 4-over-par 292 in the opening round of the NCAA Central Regional hosted at the par-72, 6,298-yard Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club.

    The Lady Bulldogs suffered a few early bogeys as showers passed over the course but quickly settled in for the round. The damp conditions provided opportunities for MSU to attack the traditionally hard greens and sink a few birdie chances.

    MSU’s 292 is the lowest postseason round in program history and tied them for seventh in the 24-team field with No. 15 Arizona State, Wisconsin and Indiana. State’s best postseason finish came with a 12th-place card (905, +53) in the 2002 NCAA East Regional.

    “This is a great spot to be,” third-year MSU coach Ginger Brown-Lemm said. “We read an article that listed all the teams that were here: who was expected to move through, who was expected to win and who was just glad to be here. Well we were listed in the unfortunate category of those that were just glad to be here. So obviously we used that as inspiration for today’s play and we were able to rise to the occasion.

    With her seventh-career 3-under-par 69, No. 29 McDonald is only two shots back of tourney leader No. 49 Emily Collins (Oklahoma). The Fulton native posted four birdies on the day including a pair back-to-back on holes 16 and 17. Her only bogey came as she knocked a downhill putt for birdie too far past the hole on No. 9.

    Warren fired a career-best 71 and earned a share of 13th through 18 holes. After stumbling with a pair of bogeys on the first two holes, the Austin native regrouped to card three birdies over her next six holes. After bogeying No. 10, she guided her tee shot to within a yard of the flagstick on the par-3 12th hole.

    Mary Langdon Gallagher, Rica Tse and Gabi Oubre’ all rounded out the MSU leaderboard with a trio of 76’s.

    SEC-foe and ninth-ranked Florida is the current leader after firing a 282 Thursday morning. No. 4 Oklahoma (283) and No. 3 Duke (284) round out the Top 3.