Round 1 recap: USC tied for 1st at NCAA women's golf championships

USC is in a tie for first and three other Pac-12 schools are in the top 10 after the first of four rounds at the NCAA women's golf championships. Play at the University of Georgia Golf Course continues Wednesday and concludes Friday.


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Fresh off a West Regional championship that gave them a school-record six tournament victories on the season, the No. 1-ranked Women of Troy entered championship play a confident bunch for good reason. Not surprisingly, then, USC finds itself tied atop the leaderboard with a 4-under 284 on day one. What is surprising is who USC is tied with-- San Jose State, the lowest-ranked team still standing. West Regional champion (well, she tied for first) and Pac-12 champion Annie Park led the way as one of three Women of Troy to finish under par, the most of any team on the day. Park's 2-under has her in a tie for fourth with Ally McDonald of Mississippi State-- those two trail San Jose State's Regan De Guzman by three strokes on the player leaderboard.


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UCLA was part of the early group, teeing off at 7:30 a.m. (4:30 back here) with this mystical view:

 
 

More than four hours later, UCLA had registered a 1-over 289 as a team. Another four-plus hours after that, the Bruins learned that score was good for a tie for fifth with Purdue after 18 holes. No major ups and downs for the four golfers whose scores counted towards the team tally; just consistency across the board -- +1, -1, +1, E. The Bruins' lone under-par golfer was 2012 First-Team All-American Erynne Lee, who went 3-under on the last 14 holes after a couple of early bogeys. UCLA had to finish strong in the East Regional just to get to the NCAA championships, which usually isn't a problem for a group that has been to golf's grandest stage 12 years running now and won the natty in most recently in 2011, but it looks like playing well under pressure in the regional stage has benefited the Bru Cru thus far.


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Close behind UCLA is Stanford, which shot 290 (+2) to get itself into seventh a quarter of the way through the tourney.  Things were looking especially good early on for Mariko Tumangan:

 

She didn't quite keep that pace, bogeying a couple of times to fall to -1, but she is one of 19 golfers to finish with a red number (she currently shares sixth with 13 others). Joining her at 71 was Lauren Kim, who had two birdies and zero bogeys on the back nine, while Mariah Stackhouse stayed even Steven after 18. Going forward, Stanford will hope to get a better round out of Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year Sally Watson, who shot 4-over Tuesday.


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The record holder for most consecutive NCAA championships appearances (22 and counting) and total championship appearances overall (31) is three strokes behind Stanford at 293, and that 5-over mark has the Forks in ninth thus far. Justine Lee was the lone Sun Devil to touch even par, while Noemi Jimenez book-ended her round with birdies to get to 1-over. Not only does Arizona State have the distinction of holding the longest streak of NCAA championship berths, the school also has this claim to fame:

The institution that is Doug Tammaro is a great follow on Twitter.


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The Wildcats are no strangers to this stage of the game, but they have their work cut out for themselves if they want to add a third championship to the trophy case. Tuesday's 298 (+10) has the 'Cats in a tie for 12th with B1G foes Michigan State and Northwestern. For your glass-half-full view of things, Laura Ianello's gals did finish 2-under on the last two holes to start to make up some of that gap already. There are high expectations for Texas A&M transfer Patricia Garcia even though the Wildcats had to count her 79 today, while Andrea Vilarasau provided the low score by carding a 72 (E).


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Still 54 more holes to get through, but perhaps the magic has run out for the Ducks. Advancing out of the West Regional as a No. 14 seed, Oregon finds itself near the bottom of the heap after a 13-over 301 landed it in a tie for 20th with Wisconsin. None of the counting scores were all that horrific, but no individual finished lower than +2-- that being Caroline Inglis. The highlight of the round had to be this:

Still plenty of holes left for the Quacks to get back in this thing.


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We're not done yet, because Washington's Ying Luo is in Athens as an individual competitor, and she has hung in well thus far with an even-par 72 on the opening round. Luo is one of six individuals not attached to a team this week, and her E has her tied for 20th on the player leaderboard and tied for first among all lone rangers. As her Tuesday would indicate, Luo is prepared for the solo experience in Athens.

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