Ducks Open 2021-22 With Second-Best Round In Program History
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Oregon women's golf team made a statement in its first round of the 2021-22 season on Friday at the Mason Rudolph Championship, posting the second-best single round in program history with a 12-under 276 at Vanderbilt Legends Club.
The Ducks' stellar opening round gives them a six-shot lead on the field going into Saturday's second round, with host Vanderbilt the closest contender at 6 under. Oregon's 12-under 276 is just two shots shy of the single-round program record, a 14-under 274 at the Westbrook Invitational in 2013-14.
Oregon was led by sophomore Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Lu, an all-Pac-12 selection last season as a true freshman. Lu rattled off eight birdies to finish with a career-best 6-under 66, tied for the sixth-best single round by a Duck in program history.
Three more Ducks joined Lu under par to help Oregon get to 12 under. Junior Briana Chacon used a terrific back nine to finish with a 3-under 69, while senior Tze-Han (Heather) Lin carded a 2-under 70 and junior Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen came in with a 1-under 71.
"Extremely proud of our team today," head coach Derek Radley said. "Traveling across the country into a different time zone was something I really wanted to test right out of the gate, and I'm so impressed with the way our team responded.
"'Confidence' is our big word this fall – we want to be confident in each other and know that we can play with anyone in the country. We have a long way to go, but I'm very pleased with the way we came out and I'm excited to see what the next couple days bring."
How it Happened: Lu was 1 over through her first four holes after a bogey at No. 3, but a birdie at No. 5 got her on track for what turned out to be a phenomenal round.
Lu made five birdies in a span of seven holes from No. 5 to No. 11, getting to 4 under before making a bogey at No. 12. Lu quickly got that stroke back with a birdie at No. 13, and she added two more on No. 16 and No. 17 before finishing with a par to card a 6-under 66. Lu enters Saturday in a three-way tie for second place at 6 under, one stroke behind Vanderbilt's Auston Kim.
"What a way for Cynthia to start her sophomore season, coming out and shooting 6 under," Radley said. "You can already tell she's more comfortable in the college game now here in year two."
Chacon – a WGCA second-team all-American last season – was even through the front nine before catching fire on the back nine to finish with a 3-under 69. She made three birdies in five holes to get to 3 under before a bogey at No. 17, but she responded with her fourth birdie of the back nine to finish 3 under and give Oregon two sub-70 scorers.
Lin was phenomenal early on in the round, ripping off five consecutive birdies from No. 3 to No. 7 to get to 5 under and stake Oregon to the early lead. A double bogey on No. 9 put her at a team-best 3 under at the turn, and a birdie at No. 11 got her to 4 under before a pair of bogeys down the stretch brought her into the clubhouse with a solid 2-under 70.
Nielsen's 1-under 71 rounded out the counting scores for the Ducks. Like Lin, she also got off to a hot start, making three birdies in her first five holes to quickly get to 3 under. Nielsen was 2 under through 13 holes before a pair of bogeys brought her back to even, but she made a birdie at No. 17 and a par on the final hole to finish under par.
Junior Ching-Tzu Chen also played well in the opening round of 2021-22, making a team-high 14 pars en route to a 2-over 74.
Ducks on the Leaderboard:
1. Oregon – 74 (-12)
T2. Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Lu – 66 (-6)
T6. Briana Chacon – 69 (-3)
T10. Tze-Han (Heather) Lin – 70 (-2)
T13. Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen – 71 (-1)
T39. Ching-Tzu Chen – 74 (+2)
What it Means: Coming off a phenomenal 2020-21 season in which they tied for 11th overall at the NCAA Championships, the Ducks returned their entire starting lineup and put together one of the most complete performances in the history of the program. With a six-stroke lead going into Saturday, the Ducks are in position to make a run at the second tournament win of the Derek Radley era.
Notable: Oregon led the field with 24 total birdies, three more than any other team … Lu's eight birdies tied for the most by an individual, and Chen's 14 pars tied for second-most on the day … The Ducks were the top team in the field Friday on both par-3 (-3) and par-4 (-2) holes, and Lu was the top individual on par-4 holes at 5 under … Oregon is the only team in the field with all five players in the top 40 of the individual standings.
Up Next: Oregon will tee off in round two of the Mason Rudolph Championship at 8:10 a.m. PT on Saturday.