FRANKLIN, Tenn. - Senior Tessa Teachman eagled the par four first hole and par five ninth hole to propel her to a 3-under par round of 69 to lead the LSU Lady Tigers who posted a 5-over round of 293 after the first round of the NCAA Women's Golf Championships at the Vanderbilt Legends Club.
The Alabama Crimson Tide rallied in the final holes to post the only official under par round of 286 (2-under) with Virginia at even par 288. Duke is third at 1-over 289, followed by North Carolina at 290. Defending champ UCLA and Arizona State are tied for fifth at 292, with LSU tied with Purdue at 293.
LSU's opening score is only one shot worse than last year's opening round when LSU finished its best over third in the NCAAs.
Teachman was one of two LSU players to fire under par rounds, as freshman Madelene Sagstrom finished at 2-under 70. Teachman is tied for fifth and Sagstrom is tied for ninth on a day when 17 players in the field of 126 broke par.
Teachman came out on the first hole with a beautiful near center cut tee shot on the opening hole, leaving her 117 yards with her pitching wedge. Her shot one bounced and began rolling and hit the flag stick dead center and dropped for an opening eagle much to the delight of the crowd which was big because the Lady Tigers were playing with host Vanderbilt.
"I'm exhausted," Teachman joked after the round. "It was a very up and down round. The front nine was phenomenal. It just kind of clicked. The back nine was a little bit of a struggle. I lost my tempo a bit, but I managed to keep in play and keep it in the right spots and finish it off.
About her opening eagle, "I was just trying to hit it on the left side of the green and have a good look at birdie. Sometimes good things happen and they just go in," Teachman said.
Her other eagle came on the par 5, 455-yard ninth hole which does offer the chance to get some strokes back. "I just hit two good shots and made the putt at nine," she said. "It's really nice having that hole as a par 5. It really gives you a good chance to get a good look at birdie."
There were two eagles on the opening hole during the round with five at the ninth hole on a day when the average score was 75.23.
"Just getting our footing on the first day; getting used to the course; getting used to tournament conditions is crucial and now we just improving on it each day," Teachman said about the team's standing early. "This team without a doubt can go do that."
Coach Karen Bahnsen was in total agreement about her squad.
"It's a four-day tournament," said Bahnsen, bringing her 12th team to the NCAAs in her Hall of Fame career. "Like I told the girls we are fine. We gave away a few at the end which we don't need to do. There is so much golf ahead of us. You can put yourself in a hole that you have to shoot your way out of, but we didn't do that. We are right there. Five to seven shots in team golf is nothing. That doesn't concern me. Our focus honestly is not, is not on what anyone else is doing. We just want to go out and do the best we can on this golf course. You've got to really manage it at times because the greens are really firm and you have to pay attention to where you want to land it on the greens so it will release to where you need it to."
Sagstrom made the most of her first-ever NCAA round with front nine birdies on the two par 3s and the par-5 seventh to shoot 33 and came home with a 37 for her 70.
"It was tough sometimes. I had a hard time getting putts in," Sagstrom said of her round. "But I'm pretty pleased with what I did."
LSU also counted a 4-over 76 from Lindsay Gahm and a 6-over 78 from defending NCAA Champion, Austin Ernst. Jacqueline Hedwall posted an 11-over 83.
Ernst turned after a 2-over 38 on the front nine that included three bogeys and a birdie on the ninth hole. She birdied the par 3 12th and par 4 15th before posting a double on the final hole after hitting her tee shot in the hazard.
The day also had a bizarre twist in it some three hours after the University of Virginia posted a team score of 6-under 282 that was probably going to be the first night leader. But some three hours after they had concluded their round, with LSU on the ninth green, the Golfstat scoring system suddenly dropped Virginia to even par and second place, at that time behind LSU.
Virginia's third player was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard, signing for a 71 instead of a 72. That meant the Cavaliers would have to add a 77 instead to their team score.
"Virginia golfer, Elizabeth Brightwell notified Rules Officials that she signed an incorrect score on the 4th hole of play. She and her coach confirmed that she had signed for a score of 4, when she actually had a score of 5 on the 4th hole. Brightwell's score will not be counted for the first round. However, she is permitted to play in rounds 2, 3 and 4," said Head Rules Official Jerry Lemieux.
The DQ did not affect the amazing round of 6-under 66 shot by UVA's No. 5 player, Portland Rosen, who also eagled the first hole from the fairway and posted a 7-under par 29 on the front nine. Rosen had two bogies on the back nine before a birdie on the 18th to take a one-shot lead in the individual competition over Laura Gonzales of Purdue, who posted 67. Catherine O'Donnell of North Carolina and Brooke Pancake of Alabama are tied for third at 4-under 68.
LSU will tee off about 14 hours after coming off the course Tuesday evening, playing in the second wave of Wednesday morning and will play the back nine first, starting with the first tee time at 8:28 a.m. The Lady Tigers will play again with Vanderbilt and Texas A&M.
NCAA Women's Championship
Vanderbilt Legends Club - Franklin, Tenn.
First Round Team Results (Par 288)
1. Alabama 286 -2; 2. Virginia 288 E; 3. Duke 289 +1; 4. North Carolina 290 +2; 5. UCLA 292 +4; 5. Arizona State 292 +4; 7. Purdue 293 +5; 7. LSU 293 +5; 9. Oklahoma 294 +6; 10. Michigan State 296 +8; 11. Southern Cal 297 +9; 11. Colorado 297 +9; 11. Texas 297 +9; 14. North Carolina State 299 +11; 14. Baylor 299 +11; 16. Tennessee 300 +12; 17. Texas A&M 301 +13; 18. South Carolina 302 +14; 18. Florida 302 +14; 20. Arkansas 303 +15; 20. Ohio State 303 +15; 22. Pepperdine 306 +18; 22. Vanderbilt 306 +18; 24. Stanford 309 +21.
Individual Top 10 (Par 72)
1. Portland Rosen, Virginia, 66 -6; 2. Laura Gonzalez, Purdue, 67 -5 3. Catherine O'Donnell, North Carolina, 68 -4; 3. Brooke Pancake, Alabama, 68 -4; 5. Giulia Molinaro, Arizona State, 69 -3; 5. Chirapat Jao-Javanil, Oklahoma, 69 -3; 5. Tessa Teachman, LSU, 69 -3; 5. Stephanie Meadow, Alabama, 69 -3; 9. Lindy Duncan, Duke 70 -2; 9. Kimberly Kaufman, Texas Tech, 70 -2; Madelene Sagstrom, LSU, 70 -2.
T5. Tessa Teachman 69 -3
T9. Madelene Sagstrom 70-2
T70. Lindsay Gahm 76 +4
T95. Austin Ernst 78 +6
T124. Jacqueline Hedwall 83 +11