NCAA Women's Golf Championships: USC 1st, UCLA 3rd after 1st round

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Alika Jenner Photography | USC Athletics

USC is in first place and UCLA is in third to lead the Pac-12 contingent at the 2018 NCAA Women's Golf Championships at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Overall, there are seven Pac-12 women's golf teams participating in the NCAA Championships: Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Washington. Individuals include Cal's Marthe Wold and Oregon State's Nicole Schroeder. The field of 24 teams will be cut down to the lowest 15 after the third round, along with the top nine individuals on non-top-15 teams, for a fourth and final round of stroke play. At the end of four rounds of stroke play, the lowest eight teams will advance to the match-play portion of the event to determine the NCAA champion.

USC

A 3-over 291 would have been good for seventh after the Trojans' first round at the Madison Regional, but it's good enough to top the team leaderboard at Karsten Creek, one stroke lower than second-place Alabama (+4). Jennifer Chang and Allisen Corpuz led the way for USC, with each shooting even par for their opening rounds. Chang birdied three of her last five holes to get back to even par after dropping to 3-over, while Corpuz bogeyed three straight holes (15-17) after getting to 3-under to drop back to even par. 

Chang and Corpuz are tied for 11th on the player leaderboard and are two of five Pac-12 golfers to shoot even par or lower on the day.

UCLA

Just three strokes back of USC is back-to-back Pac-12 champion UCLA. The Bruins, in third place at 6-over after 18 holes, are in good shape in large thanks to Patty Tavatanakit (-1, tied for seventh) and Lilia Vu (E, tied for 11th), the No. 2 ranked women's college golfer according to Golfstat. Tavatanakit finished strong by going birdie-eagle on her last two holes, fighting back from back-to-back double-bogeys on the fourth and fifth holes (she started on the back nine).

The Bruins won NCAA titles in 2004 and 2011. Can they continue the every-seven-years trend in 2018? So far, so good. 

Arizona

Arizona is tied for seventh with Louisville and Florida State after finishing Friday with a 13-over 301. Bianca Pagdanganan was one of two golfers from the Pac-12 to finish under par on Friday, carding an opening-round 71 to get into a tie for seventh. Pagdanganan did not register a bogey over her last 11 holes while getting birdies on 17, 18 and 2 (she started on the back nine) to fight her way to under par after being 2-over at a couple of different junctures.

While Pagdanganan had four birdies on her round, the rest of her Wildcat teammates combined for four themselves, and Arizona had to count a pair of 6-overs for its team score.

Washington

Washington got into the clubhouse at 15-over on Friday, right in the thick of match-play contention in a tie for 10th place. Leading the way for the Dawgs were Sarah Rhee and Rino Sasaki, as each of them finished 3-over. There weren't a lot of red numbers on the day for Washington golfers. Five Huskies on the course combined for just six birdies.

Colorado

Three strokes behind the Dawgs are the Buffs. Colorado shot 18-over to tie with Wake Forest for 13th after the first round. The Buffaloes would be in even better shape if they didn't have to count one of two 10-overs shot on Friday by Gillian Vance and Alisha Lau but got solid rounds at the top of the lineup by Kirsty Hodgkins (+2), Robyn Choi (+3) and Brittany Fan (+3). All three of those players birdied the 18th hole to go into the clubhouse on a positive note.

Stanford

Next in line is Stanford, which shot 20-over to tie with Arkansas for 16th. The Cardinal didn't have to count Mika Liu's 13-over, but nobody was lower than the +4 carded by Albane Valenzuela and Shannon Aubert. There were a lot of high numbers for the Cardinal, as the Stanford golfers combined to register eight double-bogeys and one triple-bogey.

The Cardinal is one shot back of Oklahoma (+19) for 15th place as it tries to at least play a full four rounds of stroke play.

Arizona State

Arizona State is last of all Pac-12 teams and 22nd in the 24-team field. The 2017 NCAA champions shot 26-over as a team, only ahead of Virginia (+27) and Ole Miss (+32). Sophia Zeeb's 3-over was the lowest round of the day for the Sun Devils, as she finds herself in a tie for 35th after 18 holes. It was a rough day overall for Arizona State, as the Sun Devils had a combined four triple-bogeys and five double-bogeys. That said, the Sun Devils are just seven strokes behind 15th-place Oklahoma to make it to Monday and 13 strokes behind a trio of teams at 13-over for a top-eight spot. With numbers as high as they were on Friday, that can be made up over the course of two or three rounds.

California

Cal's Marthe Wold is in the top half of the field after 18 holes, firing an opening-round 76 (+4, tied for 51st out of 132 individuals). Wold started out with five straight pars before running into a bit of trouble, bogeying six of her next 11 holes while scratching out birdies on No. 11 and No. 14.

Oregon State

Oregon State's Nicole Schroeder is at 5-over after 18 holes, birdieng the par-5 18th to finish Friday on a strong note. The Beaver sophomore was up and down all round long, registering just seven pars compared to five bogeys, two double-bogeys and four birdies.

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