Ducks In the Pack After Blustery Opening Round
EUGENE, Ore. — Unusually high winds at Eugene Country Club played havoc with Oregon's home-course advantage and with scores overall Monday, though the second-ranked Ducks are comfortably in the pack after the first day of the Pac-12 Women's Golf Championships.
Top-ranked Stanford leads the tournament after one round at 2-over 290, and Oregon carded a 7-over 295. The Ducks were within a stroke or two of their playing partners in cardinal for much of the morning, but the UO women collectively played the back nine in 5 over as ECC's signature trees swayed in gusting winds over the final 90 minutes of Oregon's round.
"Today was tough when that wind picked up; normally if it gets a little wet out here it's never really windy," UO coach Derek Radley said. "So I was seeing some balls out there kind of in some spots that I don't normally see. The next two days though, the wind is supposed to die down even if it's supposed to rain, and that'll be our comfort zone."
Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Lu carded an even-par 72 on the 6,267 yards course to sit in a tie for fifth individually. Tze-Han (Heather) Lin and Ching-Tzu Chen shot 2-over 74 and Briana Chacon finished at 3-over 75 to round out the scoring for the Ducks. Oregon was fifth in the team race entering Tuesday's second round, behind the Cardinal, USC at 4 over and Washington and ASU each at 6 over.
"It's pretty remarkable how many teams are bunched up right now," Radley said. "We're really all together. Obviously not the start we wanted; however, I kind of love where we're at with two days to go. Excited just to recap together, figure out what went wrong in some spots and figure out how to capitalize the next two days."
How It Happened: Stanford got chip-in birdies from Caroline Sturdza on No. 1 and Sadie Engelmann at No. 2 to jump out to an early lead. At the turn, the Cardinal was 1 over while Oregon was a shot back at 2 over, having recovered from some early bogeys thanks to birdies by Chen at No. 8 and Lu at No. 9.
Through 11 holes, Stanford was 2 over and Oregon was 4 over, but from there the wind began to pick up and it became tough to pick up strokes on the leaders. Chacon had a birdie at No. 13, Chen had one at 14 and both Lin and Lu birdied the par-5 16th — as did Nielsen — but the Ducks ultimately lost a little ground over the final few holes of the day.
Oregon's round began in a light rain and ended in similar conditions, but the winds that blew in the afternoon showers proved tough to overcome. That said, the Ducks have made a habit this season of finishing strong, form they'll look to continue over the final two rounds of this tournament.
"This is kind of the trend we've seen, and usually every day gets a little better," Radley said. "So I'm fully confident in what we're going to do the next two days."
1. Stanford — 290 (+2)
2. Southern California — 292 (+4)
T3. Washington — 294 (+6)
T3. Arizona State — 294 (+6)
5. Oregon — 295 (+7)
T6. Oregon State — 296 (+8)
T6. UCLA — 296 (+8)
8. Colorado — 302 (+14)
T9. Washington State — 305 (+17)
T9. Arizona — 305 (+17)
11. California — 313 (+25)
Ducks on the Leaderboard
T5. Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Lu — 72 (E)
T15. Ching-Tzu Chen — 74 (+2)
T15. Tze-Han (Heather) Lin — 74 (+2)
T26. Briana Chacon — 75 (+3)
T45. Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen — 79 (+7)
What It Means: The Ducks didn't benefit from playing on a familiar course to the extent they might have hoped, in part due to the weather and in part perhaps as well to some early jitters.
"I don't even know if nervous is the right term as more, excited and ready to get going," Radley said. "Every other sport gets to play in Eugene and we haven't in a long time. And especially this team has never really played in front of a home crowd before. So we talked about it, we addressed it and the next two days I'm excited to see them settle down a little bit and just do what they do."
Up Next: The Ducks begin play in the second round Tuesday at 9 a.m.