BATON ROUGE – The LSU Lady Tigers and Coach Karen Bahnsen put themselves in a contending position for one of six advancing spots Thursday at the NCAA Baton Rouge women’s golf regional tournament at the University Club.
The 12th-seeded Lady Tigers posted an 11-over total of 299 in the play five, count four scoring system and is just three shots out of the final sixth qualifying position for the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon later this month.
LSU was off the back nine to open the 54-hole event at 7:30 a.m. CT and had the advantage early of good weather conditions and little wind.
LSU had 10 birdies on holes 10-18, the first nine of the round and put themselves in good position to battle through the front nine as the wind picked up and the course continued to dry out.
“We teed off early before the wind picked up and had a fantastic first nine holes,” said Bahnsen, who is taking the Lady Tigers to their 22nd region in the tournament’s 24-year history. “The wind started picking up and we made a few mistakes here and there. Overall, I’m really pleased. A lot of things can happen the first day of a tournament and you can shoot yourself in the foot or keep yourself in contention. We kept ourselves in contention and that is what it is all about. Day one is in the books and I think we are still in there fighting for it. We are in a position where we can fight for it.”
Only one team, Washington, was able to break par on the day and Washington’s 2-under 286 total is the lowest team score by a women’s collegiate team in competition on the renovated layout that has been in play since 2011.
“I am really pleased,” said Washington Coach Mary Lou Mulflur. “This golf course is not easy and you put the situation on top of that, it makes for a tough few days. I was really proud of them. They were so gritty and so tough. They just absolutely battled.”
South Carolina is second at 2-over 290 with Oregon two more back at 292 in third. Florida is fourth at 293, Houston is at 295 and Arizona State is in the sixth and final qualifying position in the tournament at 295. Top seed Duke is tied with BYU for seventh in front of LSU at 298.
LSU will again get to play first out of the gate on Friday, but this time off hole No. 1, at 7:30 a.m. with Duke and BYU.
“The course (Thursday) did what we thought it was going to do. We knew it would be a softer golf course and as the wind pick up the greens got faster and slicker. We are going to come out (Friday) and have a real strong mindset and just stay positive. You can’t get frustrated when things don’t go your way.”
Leading the LSU charge was senior Elise Bradley of Mandeville who posted an even par four birdie round of 72 to stand in a group tied for 10th after 18 holes, just three shots out of the lead held by Leonie Harm of Houston and Ying Luo of Washington at 3-under 69. In all nine golfers broke par on a day when the average score was 76.68.
“Elise had a really solid round,” said Bahnsen. “She just hit the ball well and played steady. She made a few birdies and made a few bogies, which will happen on this golf course since it’s so challenging. I was most impressed with the speed she had on the greens. She had long putts and had tap-ins for the second putt.”
“Going in, our entire team has been playing well,” said Bradley. “I think everybody was pretty confident about it since it is on our home course. That’s a big advantage.”
“Sydney shot a 1-over par, which was also really big for our team. Freshman Kathleen Gallagher struggled with her putter, but she is a fighter. It doesn’t get her down, but gets her mad. This is the type of team that gets mad instead of down. That’s what you want.”
The leaders will go in the final of three waves Friday at 9:09 a.m. with Washington, Carolina and Oregon. Live scoring is available at LSUsports.net through Golfstatresults.com. Follow updates on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LSUwomensgolf and on Twitter @LSUwomensgolf.
NCAA BATON ROUGE REGIONAL
First Round Team Results
1 Washington 286 -2
2 South Carolina 290 +2
3 Oregon 292 +4
4 Florida 293 +5
5 Houston 295 +7
6 Arizona State 296 +8
T7 Duke, BYU 298 +10
9. LSU 299 +11
10 East Carolina 301 +13
11 NC State 307 +19
12 Harvard 308 +20
13 Augusta 311+23
14 Wichita State 312 +24
15 New Mexico 313 +25
16 Denver 315 +27
T17 Fairleigh Dickinson, North Florida 322 +34
Individual Top 5 (Par 72)
T1 Leonie Harm, Houston; Ying Luo, Washington, 69 -3
T3 Madison Talley, Kansas State; Marion Veysseyre, South Carolina; Julianne Alvarez, Washington; Katelyn Dambaugh, South Carolina, 70 -2.