USC Takes One-Shot Lead In First Round Of NCAA Championships

May 17, 2005

Southern California, seeking its second national championship in the past three seasons, took a one-shot lead after the first round of the 2005 NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championships on Tuesday at the Sunriver Resort's Meadows Course. Pepperdine junior Carolina Llano took the individual lead with a 2-under 69.

Play continues at 9 a.m. Wednesday on the par-71, 6,312-yard course, with rounds three and four on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

Round one was played under cloudy skies and cold and sometimes windy conditions, and the temperature ranged from the 40s to low 50s. Rain only fell lightly at times during the day, but more rain is forecast for Wednesday.

Playing in the final round of the day, Llano, who tied for 19th at the 2003 NCAA Championships, birdied three of her final four holes. One of Llano's playing partners, Southern California freshman Dewi Schreefel, birdied the final hole to move into second place with a 1-under 70.

Tennessee freshman Marci Turner was in position to share the first-round lead at 2-under, but double-bogeyed the 18th hole to drop into a third-place tie at even-par 71 with eight others.

Southern California, the 2003 national champions, had a pair of 1-over 72s by Catalina Marin and Veronica Felibert en route to a first-round 287. The Women of Troy also led after the first day in 1994 (they finished second that year) and 2003.

UCLA, the defending national champions, stands one shot back at 288. Senior Charlotte Mayorkas and freshman Amie Cochran each shot an even-par 71. Mayorkas was fourth at last year's NCAAs.

Auburn (290) and Pepperdine (291) are third and fourth, respectively, while Duke and Washington are tied for fifth at 292. Auburn's third-place standing ties for its best first-day result in the school's NCAA history (the previous was in 1990).

During the morning rounds, which featured 12 teams and six individuals, no single player broke par. Five players shot even-par 71: Michigan State's Sara Brown, Stanford's Wendra Liang, Arkansas' Amanda McCurdy, LSU's Brooke Shelton and Oklahoma State's Karin Sjodin.

The afternoon round, which saw many of the higher-ranked teams on the course, saw Llano and Schreefel shoot under par, and four others shoot par: Texas A&M's Nicole Melton, UCLA's Cochran and Mayorkas and Tennessee's Turner.

QUOTES FROM PEPPERDINE JUNIOR CAROLINA LLANO: 'I put everything together near the end and stayed warm and focused to finish strong. I was playing well early, got some up and downs, and played a solid, steady game ... (on the weather) I'm from Colombia and this is the first time playing with so many layers. We were prepared with the right equipment and were expecting it, so it shouldn't have affected us ... (on the draw) We just need to come back early tomorrow, play and see what happens.'

QUOTES FROM SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FRESHMAN DEWI SCHREEFEL: 'When we first started out, I wasn't feeling really good. But I started with a birdie so that helped. I played well in the last couple of tournaments so I was pretty confident coming in... (on the weather) It wasn't too cold. I had plenty of clothes so it didn't affect me that much.'

QUOTES FROM TENNESSEE FRESHMAN MARCI TURNER: 'I hit a lot of fairways and I hit a lot of greens. I felt comfortable hitting the ball all day. There were a lot of birdie opportunities out there. I couldn't let mistakes get to me, I stayed calm and hit good shots.'

QUOTES FROM TENNESSEE SENIOR SARAH BONNER-SHANKS (who made a hole-in-one on hole No. 4): 'I hit an 8-iron and it hit the heel of the left side of the green and kicked right. No one saw it go in. We were looking behind the green, and looked for probably two minutes. One of the girls I was playing with went over and found it in the hole. It was a very nice surprise.'

QUOTES FROM SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA COACH ANDREA GASTON: 'The team worked really hard today and I couldn't be more proud that they persevered in these conditions. I'm excited to get off to such a strong start. These conditions tend to separate the field. We've competed in this kind of weather before and have been successful, so there is no reason not to keep this up. We had a great short game today with a lot of up-and-downs and that is a big key. It is nice that the target is on somebody else's back and that we are coming in under the radar. It can be fun to be in front but not having all of the attention is allowing us to just go about our business.'

QUOTES FROM UCLA COACH CARRIE FORSYTH: 'Overall, this is a good score, especially in these conditions ... They are ready to play and are very relaxed, it's just business as usual. There is a sense of excitement and they're ready ... (on defending their championship) If we play our best, we can't be disappointed. And if we play our best then we've really got a good chance to win.'

QUOTES FROM AUBURN COACH KIM EVANS: 'I was a little nervous at first. We made a change in our lineup after regionals. I have so much confidence in Abigale (Schepperle). She really played well. With her starting strong, the rest of the team followed suit. It was windy, some of the fairways were tight and some of the greens were tricky. All-in-all, I had no idea of what it would take to be near the top today. I'm happy to put this in the book for the first round.'

QUOTES FROM DUKE COACH DAN BROOKS: 'We're four shots back and I think we're in good position. We're in good shape ... With the number of shots that are left, 800 to 900 shots, and to be only four shots back, we're in good shape ... Today I would say it was pretty consistent weather for everyone. No one got any big breaks weather-wise.'

QUOTES FROM WASHINGTON COACH MARY LOU MULFLUR (after the first 12 teams finished the morning rounds, UW was the clubhouse leader with a +8 292): 'I felt like we really hung in there today. The conditions were tough. It was nice to see a balanced performance... (on previous poor starts) We've joked about it. I don't know if we like having the pressure on us or what. This is the first week we've talked about it. You can't be in contention with a poor round. We got off to a solid start. Who knows what might happen this afternoon. To be in the barn with a good score is a nice feeling.'

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