BATON ROUGE -- Last year in the NCAA East Regional at Browns Summitt, N.C., the LSU Lady Tigers found themselves in the first round lead by shooting an even-par score of 288.
Thursday at their home course, the University Club, the Lady Tigers fashioned their third-best team score ever on the familiar track, but find themselves in the middle of a golf shootout after one round of the 2007 NCAA East Women’s Regional golf event.
LSU’s one-under par total of 287 is tied for sixth in the 21-team field as seven teams shot under par on the first day and 33 players in the 108-player field shot even-par or better.
LSU, even in sixth is in a position to qualify for the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships as the top eight teams in this and two other regional competitions being held at the same time around the country will send a combined 24 teams to Daytona Beach, May 22-25.
Second-seed UCLA was the leader almost from start to finish with an opening round of seven-under par 281 as Sydnee Michaels equaled the women’s collegiate U-Club competition record of 66, 6-under par. Melissa Eaton of LSU and Jacqui Concolino of Vanderbilt both shot 66 for the first time on the course during the 2006 LSU/Cleveland Golf Classic.
Michael is joined at 66 in the individual standings with Wake Forest’s Nannette Hill and Louisville’s Adrienne White.
Wake Forest was second with a solid round of 4-under 284 but the eighth-seed was joined by surprising Furman, the 17th seed who also posted the 4-under number. Kathleen Ekey came up big the Lady Paladins as she posted a 5-under 67 to help the cause.
Purdue is fourth at 3-under 285, with Louisville in fifth at 286. Then comes the tie with LSU and Alabama at 1-under with South Carolina and North Carolina tied for eighth at 2-over 290. Top-seeded and two-time defending national champion Duke is in 10th at 291, tied with fifth-seed Texas A&M. Third seed Auburn is 14th at 5-over 293.
LSU’s big round was keyed by the play of Melissa Eaton and Alexis Rather. Senior Eaton showed signs of posting another 66 with five birdies and just one bogey on her round. Rather was consistent through out with an even-par 36 on the first nine holes of the day (10-18), parring every hole on the front nine until the long par-3 eighth which she bogeyed to put her in at 71.
“It went well,” Eaton said about her round. “It went pretty much straight forward (Thursday). The wind wasn’t blowing, so we just went out there and played almost with our eyes closed because we know this golf course back to front. I think we were all pretty confident. I was confident. Off the tee I didn’t hit some good shots, but I got it in the hole from then onward. So it was a good round.”
“I played steady,” said Rather, a junior. “I didn’t particularly hit the ball well, but I hit a lot of greens, had no three putts. I one or two putted every hole, and the only two opportunities I had for birdie all day I made. I had two birdies and a bogey, so it was pretty uneventful. But boring can be good in this game, so it was just a steady round for me.”
“I felt like the girls were very confident,” said LSU Coach Karen Bahnsen, trying to get the Lady Tigers to the NCAA Championships for the second straight year with the same five players and her the ninth time since 1982. “They were mostly comfortable. The team was relaxed which was the key to playing well. They went out and played steady golf. It was just really steady golf. They stayed in there mentally and were really tough, and it is going to take three good rounds. We put ourselves in good position, but we are not worrying about scores or anything like that. We are just trying to continue to play the golf course, stay relaxed and go have some fun out there.”
Eaton is in a group tied for fifth at the end of the first day, with Rather in a group tied for 16th.
The second round of the 54-hole tournament is set for Friday beginning at 8 a.m. The teams will remained pair with the same teams as Thursday’s first round, but seeds 13-21 will play in the morning, while the afternoon will feature the top 12 seeds including Duke, UCLA, Auburn and LSU among others. The Lady Tigers will tee off of No. 1 beginning at 12:30 p.m. on Friday.
Admission to the tournament is free and live scoring of the event can be found through www.golfstat.com.
NCAA East Women’s Regional Golf
Baton Rouge, La. – The University Club
First Round Team Results (Par 288)
1. UCLA 281 -7; 2. Wake Forest 284 -4; 2. Furman 284 -4; 4. Purdue 285 -3; 5. Louisville 286 -2; 6. Alabama 287 -1; 6. LSU 287 -1; 8. South Carolina 290 +2; 8. North Carolina 290 +2; 10. Duke 291 +3; 10. Texas A&M 291 +3; 12. Charleston 292 +4; 12. Florida State 292 +4; 14. Auburn 293 +5; 15. Virginia 295 +7; 16. Birmingham-Southern 297 +9; 17. Western Carolina 301 +13; 18. North Carolina State 302 +14; 19. South Florida 306 +18; 20. Jacksonville State 324 +36; 21. Jackson State 329 +41.
Top 25 Individual Scores (Par 72)
1.Nannette Hill, Wake Forest, 66 -6; 1. Sydnee Michaels, UCLA, 66-6; 1. Adrienne White, Louisvlle, 66 -6; 4. Kathleen Ekey, Furman, 67 -5; 5. Aruke Felgueroso, Coastal Carolina, 68 -4; 5. Melissa Eaton, LSU, 68 -4; 5. Nicole Hage, Auburn, 68 -4; 8. Jenny Suh, Alabama, 69 -3; 8. Carolina Westrup, Florida State, 69 -3; 8. Christel Boeljon, Purdue, 69 -3; 8. Danielle McVeigh, Texas A&M, 69 -3; 8. Cindy LaCrosse, Louisville, 69 -3; 13. Stephanie Oukeo, Purdue, 70 -2; 13. Kate Thomas, North Carolina, 70 -2; 13. Tiffany Joh, UCLA, 70 -2; 16. Alexis Rather, LSU, 71 -1; 16. Sarah Sturm, Alabama, 71 -1; 16. Leah Wigger, Virginia, 71 -1; 16. Lauren Hunt, North Carolina, 71 -1; 16. Anna Grzebien, Duke, 71 -1; 16. Ashley Knoll, Texas A&M, 71 -1; 16. Theresa Paik, Furman, 71 -1; 16. Blair Lamb, Furman, 71 -1; 16. Lauren Doughtie, North Carolina State, 71 -1; 25. Amanda Mathis, Mississippi State, 72 E; 25. Benedicte Toumpsin, South Carolina, 72 E; 25. Rachel Smith, Virginia, 72 E; 25. Laura Crawford, Wake Forest, 72 E; 25. Blythe Worley, South Carolina E; 25. Maiya Tanaka, UCLA, 72 E; 25. Karlin Beck, Birmingham-Southern, 72 E; 25. Steffi Kirchmayr, Charleston, 72 E; 25. Desiree Karlsson, Western Carolina, 72 E.
LSU Women’s Golf Quotes
May 10, 2007
On how she played today ...
“It went well. It went pretty much straight forward today. The wind wasn’t blowing, so we just went out there and played almost with our eyes closed because we know this golf course back to front. I think we were all pretty confident. I was confident. Off the tee I didn’t hit some good shots, but I got it in the hole from then onward. So it was a good round. I felt confident.”
On how the team performed ...
“I felt like the girls were very confident. They were mostly comfortable. They were relaxed which was the key to playing well today. They went out and played steady golf. It was just really steady golf. They stayed in there mentally and were really tough, and it is going to take three good rounds. We put ourselves in good position, but we are not worrying about scores or anything like that. We are just trying to continue to play the golf course, stay relaxed and go have some fun out there.”
On how the team performed today ...
“Any time you are in the red, one under, the team has played well. Mel (Melissa Eaton) shot 68, 71 for me and Bec (Rebecca Kuhn) played well with a 73. When 75 is your high you are doing pretty good.”
On how she performed today ...
“I played steady today. I didn’t particularly hit the ball well, but I hit a lot of greens, had no three putts. I one or two putted every hole, and the only two opportunities I had for birdie all day I made. I had two birdies and a bogey, so it was pretty uneventful. But boring can be good in this game, so it was just a steady round for me today.”