Ducks In Second After Day One Of NCAA Championships
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Oregon women's golf team got off to a strong start at the NCAA Championships on Friday, firing a 2-over 290 in the opening round at Grayhawk Golf Club to sit in second place going into Saturday's second round.
The Ducks were one of the first teams on the course to kick off the tournament, with their first tee time of the day at 6:30 a.m. PT. No. 13 Oregon posted the second-best score out of the morning groups and remained in second place after the afternoon groups – comprised of the top 12 ranked teams in the nation – finished up play. No. 17 Texas holds just a one-stroke lead over the Ducks at 1-over par entering the second round.
"I'm really proud of the way our team competed today," said head coach Derek Radley. "This is the first time any of our players have been at the NCAA Championships, so it was great to see them come out and get off to a solid start. I was very impressed with our focus and composure here on day one, especially with such an early start time.
"There are certainly areas where we can execute better, but this was a great first step and something we can build on going into tomorrow."
Oregon was led by its all-Pac-12 duo of sophomore Briana Chacon (below) and freshman Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Lu. Chacon continued her all-American pace with a 1-under 71 – putting her in a tie for third place individually – and Lu came in with an even-par 72.
How it Happened: Riding a streak of five consecutive top-10 finishes, Chacon picked up right where she left off in her first career NCAA Championships round. Starting on the back nine, Chacon birdied No. 12 and No. 15 before making the turn at 1-under par. The Whittier, Calif., native sunk a long birdie putt at No. 1 to get back to 2 under and made par on her next four holes. She bogeyed No. 6 and No. 8, but added a birdie at No. 7 and finished with a par to finish the day at 1 under.
Currently the No. 22 ranked player in the nation, Chacon was one of only four athletes in the field to shoot under par on Friday, her fifth straight round of par-or-better and 10th in her last 13. She is two strokes back of individual leader and Pac-12 champion Rachel Heck (-3) of Stanford entering Saturday.
Lu is tied for fifth individually at even par, making birdies at No. 11 and No. 17 to match Chacon at 1-under-par at the turn. She was 1 over with three holes remaining before notching a birdie at No. 7 and finishing with a pair of pars.
Junior Tze-Han (Heather) Lin (below) also enjoyed a strong first NCAA Championships appearance, ending the day with a 1-over 73 (T19). Lin was 1 under at the turn after a pair of birdies before shooting 2 over on the back nine. Sophomore Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen rounded out the counting scores with a 2-over 74, shooting even par through 17 holes before finishing with a double bogey.
Ducks on the Leaderboard:
2. Oregon – 290 (+2)
T3. Briana Chacon – 71 (-1)
T5. Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Lu – 72 (E)
T19. Tze-Han (Heather) Lin – 73 (+1)
T38. Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen – 74 (+2)
T87. Ching-Tzu Chen – 77 (+5)
What it Means: The field will be cut to 15 teams following Sunday's third round, and Oregon's strong start has UO in great position early on. The Ducks have a 12-stroke buffer between them and the cut line going into Saturday.
Notable: Oregon was the best team in the field Friday on par-4 holes, shooting a combined 1-over par … The Ducks' 14 birdies are tied for third-most in the field.
Up Next: The Ducks will play in the afternoon group on Saturday, teeing off around 11:30 a.m. PT. UO will be paired with Auburn and Virginia Tech for the second straight day.