ERIE, Colo. - The LSU women's golf team did exactly what it needed to do in the first round of the NCAA West Regional women's golf tournament here Thursday, placing fourth in the 24-team field entering Friday's second round at the Colorado National Golf Club.
The Tigers entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed in the event in which the top eight from this and two other regionals qualify for the NCAA D1 Women's Championships to be held at Franklin, Tenn., May 22-25.
LSU spent most of the opening round moving between 2-under par and even par and only crossed into over par numbers on the final hole. But the 3-over score of 291 stands fourth presently after one round of the 54-hole event and in a good qualifying spot with two rounds to go.
It also looked like for several hours the top three seeds - UCLA, LSU and North Carolina - would occupy the top three spots in some order, but Stanford, seeded 14th and ranked 40th in the Golfstat rankings, took advantage of the perfect conditions with temperatures in the mid-80s, to shoot an afternoon wave round of 1-under 287 to take the first-round lead.
North Carolina is second at even par 288, with UCLA third at 2-over 290, one shot in front of the seventh-ranked LSU. There is a gap of five shots back to fifth place Illinois (the 19th seed) and fifth-seed California and the eighth and final qualifying spot after one round belongs to three teams at 9-over par.
The Lady Tigers showed no ill effects from the brutal SEC Tournament conditions as sophomore and defending SEC champion Austin Ernst and senior Jacqueline Hedwall each posted 1-under rounds of 71. Ernst had four birdies in a six-hole stretch in the middle of her round while Hedwall used birdies on the sixth, seventh and eighth holes.
The pair is in a group tied for fourth behind the lead of Stanford's No. 5 player, Sydney Burlison, who paced the Cardinal to their first-round lead with a 5-under par 67. Burlison had six birdies in the first 17 holes before bogeying the 18th.
The Lady Tigers also got a very good 1-over 73 from their No. 5 player, Lindsay Gahm and Madelene Sagstrom and Tessa Teachman each posted 4-over 76s. Sagstrom had an eagle on the par-5 12th hole to get to even par, but struggled on the final holes.
"The girls are in a good place mentally," said LSU Coach Karen Bahnsen. "I feel good with our situation. I am very proud of the team (Thursday). JQ (Hedwall) and Lindsay (Gahm) came through in a big way. It was a tough finish for Madelene and Tessa just couldn't get it going."
Bahnsen and the rest of the coaches will have to get their teams through what is expected to be a major change in weather from sunny and 80s to Friday's forecast high of the mid-40s for the start of the opening wave to a high of the mid-50s by the time LSU gets on the course with a 30 percent chance of rain.
Play begins at 8:30 a.m. CDT with the morning wave with LSU, UCLA and North Carolina to tee off in the final wave beginning at 1:56 p.m. CDT. One of the keys to the round besides positioning in the top eight will be those teams with a chance making the top 12 so they can bowl in the morning wave in Saturday's final round.
Live scoring is available on LSUsports.net through Golfstat.com. Updates throughout the round will be available on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LSUwomensgolf and on Twitter @LSUwomensgolf.
NCAA Women's West Regional
First Round Team Results (Par 288)
1. Stanford 287 -1; 2. North Carolina 288 E; 3. UCLA 290 +2; 4. LSU 291 +3; 5. Illinois 296 +8; 5. California 296 +8; 7. Colorado 297 +9; 7. Pepperdine 297 +9; 7.Tulsa 297 +9; 10. Texas Tech 300 +12; 10. Baylor 300 +12; 12. UNLV 302 +14; 12. Iowa State 302 +14; 12. TCU 302 +14; 12. San Jose State 302 +14; 16. New Mexico 303 +15; 17. Denver 304 +16; 18. Oklahoma 305 +17; 18. UC Davis 305 +17; 20. Kennesaw State 308 +20; 21. Northern Colorado 310 +22; 22. Oregon State 313 +25; 23. Missouri State 314 +26; 24. Jackson State 327 +39.
Individual Top 5 (Par 72)
1. Sydney Burlison, Stanford, 67 -5; 2. Hayley Davis, Baylor, 69 -3; 3. Catherine O'Donnell, North Carolina, 70 -2; 4. Kristin Coleman, Colorado, 71 -1; 4. Austin Ernst, LSU, 71 -1; 4. Jacqueline Hedwall, LSU, 71 -1; 4. Daniela Holmqvist, California, 71 -1; 4. Lee Lopez, UCLA, 71 -1; 4. Megan Osland, San Jose State, 71 -1; 4. Sally Watson, Stanford, 71 -1; 4. Anna Young, Tulsa, 71 -1.