Buffs Out to Decent Start at Sun Devil Winter Classic
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Colorado women's golf team got out to a solid start Monday at the Sun Devil Winter Classic, recording a 295 to finish the day fifth and just one stroke behind fourth-place UCLA.
"We played the front nine really well, we just kind of struggled coming in," head coach Anne Kelly said. "We just need to get our confidence and our legs underneath us a little bit. I'm disappointed, but I still see a lot of upside to this team.
"It was kind of the opposite of last week where we struggled on the front nine and played the back nine better. There were a couple of holes on the back nine that got us today, but we'll do better on those tomorrow."
The field of 10 is only made of up Pac-12 teams, so it's basically a preview of the Pac-12 Tournament minus Stanford. And when you are starting the season in the spring after missing the fall, it's a great tournament to play.
"This was sort of put together last minute," Kelly said. "There was a bigger tournament in California that got canceled that USC, UCLA and those usually play, so when that was canceled, ASU put together this one. It's a nice course, it's a good field. It's also nice that it's just 18 a day."
Oregon is the team leader, finishing with a 285 at the 6,482-yard, par 72 Talking Stick-North Course. The Ducks have a pair of players that shot sub-par rounds, which helped to get a one-stroke lead over host Arizona State (286). Southern California is only three strokes back from ASU, finishing just 1-over (289) and UCLA is fourth (294).
Entering the tournament as CU's No. 1 for the second straight event, junior Malak Bouraeda finished the day with an even round and is tied for 10th in the strong field. Her front nine were solid as she recorded a 2-under 34. Her day started with her making two pars and recording a bogey on No. 3. But she sank two consecutive birdies before making another par on No. 6, which put her at 1-under. She earned another two birdies on the next two holes and finished the front nine with a bogey.
The back nine was fairly consistent as her two birdies late in the round offset her bogeys on holes No. 10 and 11. It was an unfortunate double-bogey on No. 15 that knocked her out of the top-five. She finished the back nine at 2-over (38) and overall, it was a good round.
"Malak played really well today, she just had a couple of holes that snuck up and grabbed her," Kelly said.
Senior Kirsty Hodgkins is just one stroke behind Bouraeda in the standings, finishing with a 73 to tie for 17th. She too had a very nice front nine, recording a pair of birdies in addition to making six pars and one bogey to go 1-under (35). Like Bouraeda, she had a bit of trouble to start the back nine, hitting three consecutive bogeys. She was able to shake it off and make par on No. 13 before sinking a birdie on No. 14 to get back to 1-over for the round. Hodgkins finished her round making four straight pars.
Freshman Hailey Schalk and junior Alisha Lau are currently tied for 28th as each finished 3-over (75). Schalk's front nine was pretty consistent, but a double on the second hole was the biggest impediment of her day. The rest of her front nine included seven pars and one birdie for a 1-over. On the back nine, she sank another birdie and made another five pars, but had three bogeys to finish 2-over on the back nine.
Lau, who was making her first appearance for the Buffs this season, shot a 1-under through the first nine. She made two straight pars to start, before recording a bogey on No. 3. She made another three consecutive pars and then a birdie on No. 7 brought her back to even for the round. She finished the front nine with another par and a birdie (35). But the back nine was not as strong for her as she did not sink any putts for birdie. She made five pars and four bogeys for a 4-over.
Sophomore Ellie Gower sits one stroke back from Schalk and Lau at 76, which is tied for 34th. She is the first Buff this season to record an Eagle, doing so on No 12, a 410-yard, par 4. During her round, she also made two birdies, eight pars, six bogeys and one double.
"Everybody fought hard and I'm really proud of them," Kelly said. "We'll get going, it's just a matter of time. It's going to be fun to see when this team does come together. We just have to putt a little better and stay away from those doubles."
There is a three-way tie for first through the first 18 holes. Emma Spitz (UCLA), Alexis Phadungmartyorkul (Oregon) and Alexa Melton (USC) each shot 3-under (69), while Arizona's YuSang Hou and ASU's Linn Grant are tied for fourth (70).
The second day of action starts Tuesday at 7:45 a.m. MT. Live scoring can be found at golfstat.com.
|TOP 5 INDIVIDUALS|
|T1.||Emma Spitz, UCLA||69|
|T1.||Alexis Phadungmartvorkul, Oregon||69|
|T1.||Alexa Melton, Southern California||69|
|T4.||YuSang Hou, Arizona||70|
|T4.||Linn Grant, Arizona State||70|