BATON ROUGE -- Some of the nation's best women's college golf teams were tested by the conditions Friday in the first round of the LSU/Cleveland Golf Classic and when all was said and done, one of the nation's best teams from the Southeastern Conference had won round one at The University Club.
The seventh-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores put themselves in a good position after the first round of the 54-hole tournament, posting the only single-digit over par score of the day at six-over 294 to hold a four-shot lead over top-ranked Duke (10-over 298) and 13th-ranked Tennessee. Sixth-ranked Auburn and 22nd-ranked North Carolina are tied for fourth at 11-over par 299.
The LSU Tigers, ranked 28th and playing on their home course, will have some work to do over the final 36 holes, after struggling in the teeth of the wind at the start of the back nine. The Lady Tigers are eighth at 19-over par, 13 shots out of the lead, and nine shots out of second place.
Individually, the nation's number one player, Amanda Blumenherst of Duke, bogeyed the first hole and then after turning at even par, birdied the 11th, 14th, 15th and 17th hole to shoot a four-under round of 68, tying for the eighth lowest individual round in the University Club history. She's one shot clear of the defending LSU/Cleveland Golf Classic champion, Jacqui Concolino of Vanderbilt, who posted three-under 69, who posted birdies on two of the last four holes.
Auburn, Tennessee and North Carolina all got some break from the breezy conditions that continued to strengthen as the afternoon went on, finishing in waves ahead of the LSU, Duke, Vanderbilt groups which had to play the first part of the back nine, 10-14, in the teeth of the wind.
That's where LSU had its stumbles after turning at three-over par and spending much of the first half of their round in second place. The Lady Tigers had to count 10 strokes over par on the first five holes of the back nine.
"The start of the back nine just cost us a lot as we weren't able to keep ourselves together when things went a little against us," said LSU Coach Karen Bahnsen, hosting the largest and most impressive field in the 26 years of the LSU/Cleveland Golf Classic. "We had a chance at some birdies to get some shots back, but couldn't get anything to drop. It's just one round. We'll be back out there battling (Saturday)."
The average score for the first round was 79.05 for the 108 golfers and the hardest four holes were all in the stretch of the course that the wind was causing the most havoc with the par-4 14th averaging 0.85 strokes over par. The 10th hole was at 0.78 over with No. 12 tied for third hardest with the ninth hole at 0.63 strokes over par.
In all five golfers were under par for the first round with Blumenherst and Concolino joined by Amanda Mathis of Mississippi State, Katie Miller of North Carolina and Jenna Pearson of South Carolina at one-under par 71. Lauren Doughtie of North Carolina State and Nicole Hage of Auburn were in a tie for sixth at even par 72.
LSU's best score came from sophomore Caroline Martens who posted a three-over par 75 for a tie for 21st place. Martens had sides of 36-39 on the opening day. LSU also counted a 76 from Alexis Rather, a 77 from Rebecca Kuhn and a 79 from Melissa Eaton.
The tournament continues with the second 18 holes beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday. LSU will tee off in the second wave of the morning, playing with Louisville and North Carolina State beginning at 8:45 a.m. The leading teams (Vandy, Duke and Tennessee) go off beginning at 10:15 a.m. and the Blumenherst-Concolino pairing tees off No. 1 at 10:51 a.m.
Admission is free and live scoring for the event can be found at www.golfstat.com.
LSU/Cleveland Golf Classic
First Round Team Results (Par 288)
1. Vanderbilt 294 +6; 2. Duke 298 +10; 2. Tennessee 298 +10; 4. Auburn 299 +11; 4. North Carolina 299 +11; 6. Alabama 301 +13; 7. Louisville 306 +18; 8. LSU 307 +19; 9. North Carolina State 308 +20; 10. Charleston 309 +21; 11. Wake Forest 310 +22; 11. South Carolina 310 +22; 13. Virginia 313 +25; 14. Augusta State 314 +26; 15. Mississippi State 315 +27; 16. Furman 318 +30; 16. Birmingham-Southern 318 +30; 18. UNC Wilmington 321 +33; 19. Ole Miss 325 +37; 20. Memphis 326 +38; 21. Kentucky 330 +42.
Top 25 Individuals (Par 72)
1. Amanda Blumenherst, Duke, 68 -4; 2. Jacqui Concolino, Vanderbilt, 69 -3; 3. Jenna Pearson, South Carolina, 71 -1; 3. Katie Miller, North Carolina, 71 -1; 3. Amanda Mathis, Miss. State, 71 -1; 6. Lauren Doughtie, North Carolina State 72 E; 6. Nicole Hage, Auburn, 72 E; 8. Laura Goodwin, Alabama, 73 +1; 8. Jill Stupiansky, Birmingham-Southern, 73 +1; 8. Marci Turner, Tennessee, 73 +1; 8. Lauren Hunt, North Carolina, 73 +1; 8. Mandy Goins, Wake Forest, 73 +1; 13. Jenny Suh, Alabama, 74 +2; 13. Nicole Smith, Tennessee 74 +2; 13. Angela Oh, Tennessee, 74 +2; 13. Amanda Smith, Augusta St., 74 +2; 13. Candace Schepperle, Auburn, 74 +2; 13. Brooke Goodwin, Vanderbilt, 74 +2; 13. Anna Grzebien, Duke, 74 +2; 13. Cindy LaCrosse, Louisville, 74 +2; 21. Steffi Kirchmayr, Charleston, 75 +3; 21. Leah Wigger, Virginia, 75 +3; 21. Sydney Crane, North Carolina, 75 +3; 21. Marisa Milligan, Auburn, 75 +3; 21. Caroline Martens, LSU, 75 +3; 21. Carmen Perez, Wilmington, 75 +3; 21. Chris Brady, Vanderbilt, 75 +3.