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    Friday NCAA Golf Report

    Gamecocks Climb to Fourth Place at NCAA West Regional

    STANFORD, Calif. — The South Carolina women’s golf team will head into the final round of the NCAA West Regional in the mix for its third regional title in four years after posting a second-round 285 (+1) to move into fourth place on Friday at the Stanford Golf Course.

    The Gamecocks, whose 285 is the second lowest NCAA Regional score in school history, have a total of 581 (+13) and are just four strokes back of tournament leaders Purdue and Vanderbilt, who have a total of 577 (+9). More importantly, Carolina is in position for a top-eight finish, which secures a berth to the NCAA Championship. Fifteen strokes separate the Gamecocks and ninth place.

    “I’m super proud of these girls,” South Carolina head coach Kalen Harris said. “They did a phenomenal job. We just came out really strong and played very steady golf all day. We are in a good position heading into Saturday. We will just tee it up and do it again. We need to stay mentally tough, and that’s been our game plan all week.”

    Senior Meredith Swanson is making her final run as a Gamecock a memorable one as she led the charge on Friday, shooting a season-low 70 (-1). She moved into a tie for 17th with a total of 145 (+3). After making a bogey on her first hole of the day, Swanson settled down and made just one mistake the rest of the way, a bogey on the par-5 seventh. She made the turn at 2-over and then caught fire on the back nine, making birdies on 12, 13 and 16 and pars on the rest of the holes to finish the round at 1-under.

    Junior Suzie Lee was steady for the second-straight day as she turned in an even-par 72 to move into a tie for 12th with a total of 144 (+2). She cruised through the front nine with all pars and made three straight pars on the back side before recording birdie on No. 13 to get to 1-under. After three more pars, she bogeyed the 17th to drop back to even, where she concluded her round.

    The freshman duo of Sarah Schmelzel and Mary Fran Hillow came up big for the Gamecocks on Friday as they each shot a 1-over 72. Schmelzel, who is in a tie for 34th with a total of 148 (+6), played near flawless golf. She began the day with 11 straight pars and then sank a birdie putt on the par-5 12th to get to 1-under. Her only blemishes of the round came down the stretch as she made bogeys on the 15th and 17th holes to wrap up her round at 1-over.

    Hillow climbed 42 spots up the leaderboard into a tie for 72nd with a total of 154 (+12). She was solid on the front nine, recording a pair of birdies and a bogey to make the turn at 1-under. She carded three bogeys and a birdie on the back nine to head into the clubhouse at 1-over.

    Rounding out the lineup, sophomore Justine Dreher shot a 78 (+7) and is in a tie for 46th with a total of 150 (+8).

    Top-ranked Southern California is two shots ahead of the Gamecocks in third place with a total of 579 (+11). Host Stanford is in fifth with a score of 585 (+17), followed by Baylor (586), Oregon (589) and Georgia (595).
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    Alabama Extends Lead at NCAA East Regional

    AUBURN, Ala. – The top-seeded Alabama women’s golf team extended its team lead to 14 shots on Friday in the second round of the NCAA East Regional Championship at the par-72, 6,259-yard Auburn University Club.

    The Crimson Tide matched the program’s lowest round in NCAA tournament play – a record set on Thursday – with another 11-under-par 277, which also matches the lowest round of the season and the second-lowest round in school history. Alabama is 22-under 554 after 36 holes of play, which is the second-lowest 36-hole total in school history.

    “It was pretty solid,” Alabama head coach Mic Potter said of his team’s play on Friday. “Jennifer Kirby had a bogey-free 66, so we have had three bogey-free rounds this week, which is always nice. Stephanie (Meadow) and Jen (Kirby) are both All-Americans and they have done great things in junior and college golf, so they are comfortable in these situations. They had scoring opportunities today. The greens are pretty similar to what we have been practicing on, so I think they are fairly comfortable.”

    Tulane shot 3-under 285 on Friday for an 8-under total of 568 to seize second place. Arkansas shot 6-over 294 in round two and is tied with Oklahoma State for third at 1-over 577. Texas is fifth after two rounds at 4-over 530. North Carolina is sixth at 582 with host Auburn seventh at 7-over 583 after a 4-under 284 on Friday. UCLA and Tennessee are tied for eighth at 10-over 586.

    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.

    The Crimson Tide have three players among the top two individuals with Stephanie Meadow holding the individual lead at 10-under 134, which ties the school’s 36-hole record. Jennifer Kirby and Emma Talley are tied for second at 6-under 138.

    Meadow and Kirby led the way on Friday with a pair of matching 6-under-par 66s. Meadow recorded her second straight bogey-free round with six-red circles on her scorecard, posting birdies on the first, fourth, fifth, seventh, 13th and 16th holes. She has 10 birdies and no bogeys through 36 holes. The 66 matches the lowest round of Meadow’s career and the 10-under 134 equals the individual 36-hole record at Alabama.  

    “I played really well,” Meadow said. “My putter caught fire and I made a lot of long ones. Everything just went my way.”

    Kirby, a senior from Paris, Ontario, also posted a bogey-free round with six birdies, coming on the fourth, fifth, seventh, eighth, 13th and 16th holes. The 66 ties Kirby’s lowest round at Alabama.

    Talley, who held the opening-round lead after a 67 on Thursday, shot 1-under 71 on Friday to join Kirby in a tie for second. Talley, who began her round on the backside, played her opening-nine holes in 1-over but played her closing nine in 2-under with birdies on the third and eighth holes.  

    Sophomore Daniela Lendl was the Crimson Tide’s fourth counting score in round two with a 2-over 74. Hannah Collier’s score of 3-over 75 was dropped from the team total.
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    MSU Tied For Sixth, McDonald Second Entering Final Round Of NCAA Central Regional

    NORMAN, Okla. – Led by a second-consecutive 3-under-par 69 from No. 29 Ally McDonald, the Mississippi State women’s golf team posted a second-round 11-over-par 299 in the NCAA Central Regional at the par-72, 6,298-yard Jimmie Austin OU Golf Course.

    MSU’s two-round 15-over 591 earned them a share of sixth place along with No. 16 UC Davis and No. 21 Texas Tech. State is just one stroke back of fourth-place No. 39 Coastal Carolina and No. 15 Arizona State and only two strokes back of third-place No. 9 Florida.

    The top eight teams from each regional will advance to the NCAA Championships at the UGA Golf Course in Athens, Ga. MSU has never advanced to the NCAA Championships as a team.

    The Lady Bulldogs’ 591 is the program’s lowest postseason 36-hole score, while Friday’s 299 is the third-best postseason round in their history.

    “This is an exceptional spot to be in,” said third-year MSU coach Ginger Brown-Lemm. “The golf course was a whole lot more difficult today. They got about an inch and a half of rain last night and it changed everything. The wind direction also changed. We had been playing a southerly wind and playing some of the longer par-4’s down wind, which made them very accessible. With today’s conditions and an extremely wet golf course, it really changed the finishing holes on both nines.

    “We did a great job. We played a bit early, which might have been some advantage. We were patient and it paid off”

    McDonald’s back-to-back 69’s have earned her the runner-up spot on the leaderboard entering Saturday’s final round. She is only a single stroke back of tourney leader No. 49 Emily Collins (67-70) of Oklahoma.

    The sophomore from Fulton, Miss., notched a birdie-bogey-birdie start before posting six consecutive pars. She began her second nine birdieing two of the first three holes and posted another six consecutive pars to end the day.

    McDonald owns a final-round scoring average of 72.00, which ranks seventh nationally, while Collins’ final-round average is 75.67.

    Mary Langdon Gallagher found her rhythm and posted a season-best 72 on the day. The junior quickly jumped out of the gate with two birdies on her first three holes and effectively managed the tough conditions over the last six holes to post only a 2-over during that stretch.

    Sophomore Rica Tse turned in her second straight 76. The New Zealand native managed a 2-over on each nine, just like she did during the first round. Tse has battled a cold much of the week and has posted only a single birdie through two rounds.

    Elena Warren and Gabi Oubre’ rounded out the Lady Bulldog leaderboard with a 154 and 158, respectively. Warren posted a career-best 71 Thursday before turning in an 83 Friday, while Oubre’s opening-round 76 was followed by a second-round 82.

    The top two players in the tournament field from non-advancing teams will also qualify for the finals as individuals.
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    No. 5 Arkansas women’s golf still in the hunt

    AUBURN, Ala. – The second round of the 2013 NCAA East Regional Women’s Golf Championship is in the books and the fifth-ranked University of Arkansas team is sitting in a tie for third place hoping to advance to the NCAA Championship in two weeks.

    Arkansas fired a second round 294 combining with their five-under 283 on Thursday for a 577, 23 strokes behind second-ranked Alabama who leads the tournament with a 554.  No. 20 Tulane is second at 568 followed by the Razorbacks and No. 17 Oklahoma State who are tied for third with 577.  The other teams above the eight-team cut line to advance include No. 23 Texas with 580, No. 11 North Carolina with 582, No. 42 Auburn with 583 on their home course and No. 8 UCLA and No. 31 Tennessee are tied for the coveted eighth spot with a 586.

    “We didn’t have our best golf today but we hung in there,” Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor said.  “We hoped to make a move in the standings today and didn’t quite get that done but there are still positives to build on.  We have one round left and while our ultimate goal is to win every tournament we are in, we are certainly focusing on a top eight finish and a chance to move on to the National Championship.”

    Arkansas counted three 73s in the second round with senior Victoria Vela, freshman Gabriela Lopez and junior Emily Tubert all posting the one-over score.  Junior Emma Lavy and freshman Regina Plasencia both counted rounds of 75 Friday.

    Lavy, a Fayetteville, Ark., native continues to lead the Razorbacks.  Lavy is tied for ninth place overall with a 142 with rounds of 67-75.

    Vela is tied for 18th overall and in the clubhouse with a 144 that includes a 71-73 while Lopez is tied for 22nd with a 145 with a 72-73.  Tubert is tied for 31st with a 146 after back-to-back 73s and Plasencia rounds out the Razorback scores and is tied for 42nd with a148 shooting 73-75.

    The front nine seemed to give Arkansas trouble in the second round as the Razorbacks counted 11 bogeys and two doubles with just five birdies.  Arkansas had eight birdies on the second nine.  Four of the five players bogeyed hole one in the round.

    Arkansas is scheduled to begin the final round on the Auburn University course at 8 a.m., an hour after the first scheduled tee time.  Tee times were moved up to 7 a.m. as inclement weather is expected in the area.  The Razorbacks open with Plasencia at 8 a.m. followed by Tubert, Loptez, Vela and Lavy in 10 minute increments.  Arkansas plays with Tulane and Alabama in the final round.
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    Wildcats in 12th after Round Two of East Regional

    AUBURN, Ala. – The University of Kentucky women’s golf team concluded round two of the 2013 NCAA East Regional, shooting 8-over-par, 296. UK is in 12th place at 21-over for the tournament in the 24-team field played at the Auburn University Club in Auburn, Ala.

    Alabama leads the field at 22-under, while Tulane is in second at 8-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 11 shots off from Tennessee and UCLA, who are tied for eighth at 10-over-par.

    Junior Liz Breed fired the low score on the day for the Wildcats, shooting even par, 72. Breed equaled a team-high with three birdies on Friday, including back-to-back birdies on holes No. 9 and 10. The Waynesboro, Pa., native is tied for 81st in the tournament at 9-over-par.

    Senior Betsie Johnson also posted three birdies on the afternoon on her way to a 2-over-par, 74 day. Johnson charted her second consecutive 2-over-par day and is 4-over for the invitational. She is the leading Wildcat in the championship tied for 42nd.

    Freshman Sarah Harris recorded a team-best 13 pars on Friday and had two birdies to finish at 2-over on the afternoon. The Hermitage, Tenn., is tied for 48th at 5-over-par for the event.

    Freshman Cylia Damerau, who led the Cats with an even par round on Thursday, shot 5-over-par on Friday and is tied for 48th at 5-over. Senior Ashleigh Albrecht was 4-over today and is tied for 96th at 12-over-par.

    Kentucky will resume play on Saturday with their final round of the East Regional. Albrecht will tee off first for UK at 8:00 a.m. ET from hole No. 1. Breed, Damerau, Harris and Johnson will follow, respectively, in 10 minute intervals.
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    Gators Stay In Hunt; In Third Going Into Final Round at NCAA Central Regional

    NORMAN, Okla. - Not as many birdies were written down on day two of the NCAA Central Regional at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Course, but the ninth-ranked University of Florida women's golf team stayed well within the top-eight going into Saturday's final round as it finished Friday's second round in a tie for third place at 13-over (589). With a top-eight finish tomorrow, UF would be able to advance to its third-straight NCAA Championship appearance and 23rd appearance in school history.

    Much of what kept UF at the top of the leaderboard was, again, the play of senior Mia Piccio (Bacolod City, Philippines) and junior Elcin Ulu (Istanbul, Turkey) as both remained in the top-20 even with higher scores from the previous day. However, the best round of the day for the Gators came from sophomore Anna Young (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), who improved by three shots to card a three-over (75) and move to a tie for 76th at nine-over (153). Young only had four bogeys all day and did card one birdie at the par four, 14th. The round of 75 ties for her second-best of the season and lowest since recording a 75 in the first round of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate back in February.

    "We struggled today overall," Florida head coach Emily Bastel said. "It was a little different for each player, so we worked on some things individually after the round. We are disappointed in our day today, but, by no means hanging our heads as we have tomorrow ahead of us. We will work hard to have a strong finish to the tournament and I know this team is very capable."

    Much of the field had trouble scoring on day two of the regional as only seven of the 126 players participating finished with under par scores. After Young's three stroke improvement, the next lowest score for the Gators came from Piccio, who shot a four-over (76) to drop to one-over (145) for the tournament in a tie for 10th. Even with the seven-stroke drop, Piccio was able to benefit from the rest of the field's struggles and keep a Florida name in the top-ten. Starting on the back nine, the senior had a rough start with a bogey and a triple-bogey through her first five holes. Three more bogeys after that before the turn had her at seven-over for the day and in jeopardy of dropping out of the top part of the leaderboard.

    However, Piccio was able to pull it together in a big way on her second nine to record four birdies and nothing higher than one bogey, which came at the par four, 7th. The Philippines native played her second nine at three-under and put herself back in contention of the individual leaderboard trailing leader Emily Collins of Oklahoma by eight strokes.

    Following Piccio was Ulu, who was trying to build off a career-low just one day before. The junior started her day off solid with a birdie on the par five, 13th, and was one-under for the day after just five holes, but three bogeys before reaching her 11th hole dropped her to two-over in the round. Ulu still had a chance to salvage the round with eight holes left, but suffered two-straight double-bogeys on the seventh and eighth holes and fell out of red numbers for the week. Going into Saturday's final round, Ulu will be in a tie for 16th at two-over (146) with still a very good opportunity to move back up the board as only nine shots separate her from the leader.

    As for the final two Gators in the lineup, sophomore Camilla Hedberg (Sitges, Spain) couldn't quite in a groove as she added four strokes to her first day's score to shoot six-over (78) for Friday and drop to eight-over (152). She'll be in a tie for 66th with one round to play. Finally, freshman Ursa Orehek (Domzale, Slovenia) was not able to capitalize on her career-low from Thursday as she carded a six-over (78) for her day two total, a seven shot difference from yesterday. Orehek remained in the top-40, however, as she is in a tie for 39th place going into the final round.
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    Auburn Women’s Golf Team Jumps to Seventh Place

    AUBURN – The Auburn women’s golf team shot its lowest round of the year, a 4-under 284, and moved into seventh place after the second round on Friday at the Auburn University Golf Club. The round was one of just four on the day to come in under par.

    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.

    "Yesterday I felt they put too much pressure on themselves,” student-assistant coach Danielle Downey said. “They were trying to be a little too perfect. I told them after the round 'The best scores were in the morning and we have the morning tomorrow. Play like athletes and be yourself.' They have a perfect game plan. They showed up today as different golfers. They went out and they weren't scared. They were aggressive.

    “This is how they should've played all year. I am happy that Coach (Kim Evans) can see a good score on the scoreboard even though she isn't out here. I am really proud of anyone. We put ourselves in a good position for tomorrow."

    The Tigers moved up six places into the crucial top-eight. The top eight teams and top two individuals not on advancing teams will move on to the NCAA Championships, scheduled for May 21-24, in Athens, Ga.

    Junior Marta Sanz led the Tigers with a 4-under 68, her fifth round in the 60s this season. Sanz began the round with a birdie on No. 11 before a birdie on No. 16 to make the turn at 2-under. On the front-9, the Madrid, Spain native birdied No. 4 before closing out the round with a birdie on No. 9. Sanz is currently tied for 22nd at 1-over 145.

    "It is unbelievable how everyone played today,” Sanz said. “I am so proud of Jamie Yun shooting a 1-over. Carlie Yadloczky and Victoria Trapani hung in there. As a team I am proud of how we played. We are going to be ready in the morning wave and have a chance to go to Nationals."

    Junior Diana Fernandez is tied for ninth at 2-under after shooting a 1-under 71. Fernandez birdied her first hole of the day before moving to 2-under following a birdie on No. 13. After suffering bogeys on No. 17 and No.5, Fernandez birdied Nos. 6 and 8 before finishing the round with a bogey on No. 9.

    Senior Carlie Yadloczy is tied for 31st at 2-over after carding an even-par 72. Yadlockzy bogeyed No. 11 to make the turn at 1-over, but birdied the par-3 No. 2 to move to even. After a bogey on No. 3, Yadloczky birdied No. 7.
     
    Freshman Jamie Yun fired her lowest round of the season, shooting a 1-over 73 to finish the day tied for 56th with a 150. After carding a birdie on No. 12, Yun bogeyed No. 13 to close the back-9 at even-par. After making the turn, Yun bogeyed No. 2 to finish at 1-over. Sophomore Victoria Trapani shot a 7-over 79 to finish the day 107th with a 159.
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    Georgia Slips To Eighth At West Regional

    STANFORD, Calif. --- Georgia posted a 15-over 297 in Friday's second round of the NCAA Women's Golf West Regional at the Stanford University Golf Course. In the process, the 18th-ranked Bulldogs slipped from sixth to eighth entering Saturday's final round.

    The top eight teams will advance to the NCAA Championships in two weeks at the University of Georgia Golf Course. The Bulldogs are a single stroke ahead of Kent State on the current "cut line."

    Rocio Sanchez Lobato led the Bulldogs with a 2-over 73. Georgia also counted a pair of 75s from Amira Alexander and Emilie Burger and a 76 by Manuela Carbajo Ré, while dropping Kailey Walsh's 79.

    The Bulldogs struggled late in the day, playing the final two holes at a combined 7-over.

    No. 7 Vanderbilt and No. 12 Purdue are tied atop the team leaderboard at 577. No. 1 Southern Cal is third at 579, followed by South Carolina at 581, No. 14 Stanford at 585, No. 19 Baylor at 586, Oregon at 599, Georgia at 595, Kent State at 596 and No. 6 Arizona at 598. Six more teams are within 10 strokes over the Bulldogs with Ohio State at 600, LSU at 601, No. 25 Pepperdine and No. 24 Texas A&M at 602, San Jose State at 605 and UNLV at 606.

    Southern Cal's Annie Park signed for an even-par 71 to remain in the individual lead at 4-under 138, a stroke better than Oregon's Cassy Isagawa. For Georgia, Burger is tied for eighth at 143, Alexander, Carbajo Ré and Sanchez Lobato are all tied for 51st at 151 and Walsh is tied for 84th at 156.