Strong Finish Has Ducks One Shot Back
NAPA, Calif. — Down 12 strokes at the turn Monday, the No. 2 Oregon women's golf team made up 11 strokes on the back nine to enter Tuesday's second round of the Silverado Showdown just one shot back of San Jose State at Silverado Country Club.
Through nine holes of the first round, San Jose State was 9 under while the Ducks were 3 over, with SJSU holding a 12-shot lead over the second-place UO women. But Oregon went 3 under on the back side to finish even for the day, while the Spartans — who started their round at No. 10 — played their second nine in 8 over to finish 1 under as the first-round leaders.
"Great position heading into the next two days," UO coach Derek Radley said. "We know this course well; even though we don't get to play it all that often, I think our whole lineup — especially the starting five — had played it before. So, really excited to try to take advantage the next couple of days."
Individually, Ching-Tzu Chen finished the first round tied for fourth with a 2-under 70 on the 6,192-yard Silverado Country Club. Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Lu is one shot back after a 1-under 71, Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen shot 1 over and three Ducks finished at 2-over 74, including Briana Chacon, Tze-Han (Heather) Lin and freshman Baylee Hammericksen, who is playing as an individual in her collegiate debut this week.
How It Happened: Chen played each side at 1 under, bouncing back from a bogey on No. 10 that put her even for the day with birdies at Nos. 13 and 16 to finish 2 under. Lu went birdie-birdie on 16 and 17 to go 2 under on the back nine and get to 1 under for her round, and Kibsgaard Nielsen and Chacon each were even on the back nine.
No individual round on the day had the Ducks as happy as the debut of Hammericksen, a freshman from Medford. She opened her first collegiate round with a birdie at No. 1, and she nearly chipped in for birdie at No. 18 to close out her day.
"This is really neat, to be able to co-host this tournament with the University of Colorado — and when we do host, to have the option to bring the whole team and have them play," Radley said. "So for Baylee to have her first college start and get in at 2-over par, we're all cheering for her, always. She's such a good teammate and good person, and we're really happy for her."
Hammericksen was even at the turn Monday after three birdies, a bogey and a double bogey on the front side. She had another double at No. 10, but after a bogey at 12 she bounced back with a birdie at No. 13, then posted par on each of her last five holes.
"More than any particular event or score or anything like that that happened today, the opportunity to play with some of the best juniors in the world who also happen to be the greatest people in the world — all my teammates — that's the only thing I could really ask for," Hammericksen said. "So I'm just really happy to be here and hope that I can pull two more days together and make 'em proud."
1. #5 San Jose State — 287 (-1)
2. #2 Oregon — 288 (E)
3. #11 Texas A&M — 294 (+6)
4. #37 Iowa State — 295 (+7)
5. #26 Arizona — 297 (+9)
Ducks on the Leaderboard:
T4. Ching-Tzu Chen — 70 (-2)
T6. Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Lu — 71 (-1)
T14. Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen — 73 (+1)
T20. Briana Chacon — 74 (+2)
T20. Tze-Han (Heather) Lin — 74 (+2)
T20. Baylee Hammericksen — 74 (+2)
T70. Brittany Shin — 80 (+8)
What It Means: Playing their final tournament before the postseason, the Ducks are in position for their ninth straight top-five finish in nine events this season. And they're also in position to challenge for their fourth tournament title of the season, after overcoming a slow start Monday.
"We're just tired; it's been a lot of golf lately with Arizona State (on March 25-27) and then having a couple (Chacon and Lu) that went to Augusta over the weekend," Radley said. "But we talked a lot about battling from start to finish. So, really proud of the way that we finished."
Notable: The Ducks as a team shot their sixth straight round at par or better, and did so for the 13th time overall this season. … Lu carded her eighth straight round at par or better. … Chen shot par or better for the 11th time this season.
Up Next: The Ducks will begin their second round on Tuesday at 9:40 a.m.