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Ducks Storm Into Tournament Lead

Apr 19, 2022

EUGENE, Ore. — A day after playing the back nine in windy conditions and falling into the middle of the field, Oregon came roaring down the stretch Tuesday in the second round of the Pac-12 Championships at Eugene Country Club.

The Ducks began the round at 7 over and were one of the first two teams on the course, in rainy conditions that led to standing water on some greens. They then endured a weather delay that ended up lasting more than five hours, returned to the course and found themselves 13 over at the turn

But led by individual tournament leader Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Lu, the Ducks saw their four counting players Tuesday go 9 under on the back nine. Lu came within a stroke of the tournament record for a single round, carding a 6-under 66 that included five birdies in a seven-hole stretch after making the turn. Tze-Han (Heather) Lin and Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen each played the back nine in 2 under, putting the Ducks in the thick of the hunt for the team title entering Wednesday's third and final round.

"We just got back into our groove," said Derek Radley, head coach of the second-ranked Ducks. "We really didn't have it much yesterday with the wind, and this morning with the challenging conditions. We just looked more like us (this afternoon). Just so proud of them to fight back the way they did."

Tuesday's weather delay began just after 10 a.m., and play didn't resume until 3:30 p.m. Several teams had yet to begin their rounds before the delay, and their rounds were ultimately suspended due to darkness with Oregon and Arizona State tied atop the leaderboard at 4 over, one stroke ahead of Washington and four strokes better than No. 1-ranked Stanford.

"We just wanted a chance," Radley said. "Just so thankful we have the opportunity to play; so thankful the weather cleared up and the course was playable. In our team meeting before we came out (following the delay), the word I used was 'magic — it starts now.' And they did that. Incredible."

How It Happened: The Ducks began play at 9 a.m. in a steady rain, and their round began auspiciously — after her drive at the par-4 first hole, Briana Chacon took a three-quarter swing with a 7-iron from 138 yards out, watched the ball bounce once on the green and saw it drop right into the cup for an eagle. But a string of bogeys soon followed for the Ducks, as water accumulated on the course. Each UO player had only a few holes under her belt when play was suspended.

"This morning's challenge was really difficult," Radley said. "Those, whatever, four to six holes that we played this morning, were extremely challenging. I think we had six three-putts through the puddles. So to be able to come back out fresh and gain some momentum after that, I'm so proud of this team."

Teams initially waited out the delay in the dining room at Eugene Country Club, playing board games or studying — Lu said she finished a math assignment during the delay. But after the delay was extended at 1 p.m., some teams left the course for their hotels, delaying the restart when the weather took a turn for the better an hour or so later.

Play thus didn't resume until 3:30, after a delay of five hours and 13 minutes. Lu posted her first birdie of the day on the par-3 fifth hole, but overall Oregon's four players whose scores ended up counting Tuesday played the front nine in 6 over.

Everything changed after the turn. Lu and Nielsen birdied No. 10, as did Ching-Tzu Chen. Lu followed with a birdie at No. 11; Nielsen, Lin and Lu all birdied No. 13; Nielsen, Lu and Chacon birdied No. 16; and Lu and Chacon made it back-to-back birdies at No. 16. All the while first-round leader Stanford was sliding back while the Ducks and Sun Devils gained ground, and when Lu birdied No. 16 and Lin birdied No. 17 moments later, the Ducks were in the lead.

By the time the Ducks finished their round, they trailed ASU by two strokes. But the Sun Devils fell back into a tie for the team lead with a couple of bogeys at No. 18.

Lu came within a stroke of matching the single-round Pac-12 Tournament record of 7 under — a record she would have tied had an eagle putt from the edge of the green at No. 13 not lipped out.

"The one thing is, I'm very confident about myself because I know my teammates always have my back," Lu said. "No matter where I go and what I do, they will always have my back. So I'm really confident in all the decisions I make on the course. And I know this course pretty well; we all know it pretty well."

Team Leaderboard
T1. #2 Oregon — 295-285—580 (+4)
T1. #7 Arizona State — 294-286—580 (+4)
3. #47 Washington — 294-287—581 (+5)
4. #1 Stanford — 290-susp.—inc. (+8)
T5. #12 Southern California — 292-susp.—inc. (+9)
T5. #16 UCLA — 296-289—585 (+9)
7. #29 Oregon State — 296-296—592 (+16)
8. #26 Arizona — 305-susp.—inc. (+21)
9. Colorado — 302-297—599 (+23)
10. Washington State — 305-susp.—inc. (+27)
11. California — 313-susp.—inc. (+28)

Ducks on the Leaderboard
1. Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Lu — 72-66—138 (-6)
T11. Tze-Han (Heather) Lin — 74-73—147 (+3)
T20. Briana Chacon — 75-73—148 (+4)
T28. Ching-Tzu Chen — 74-76—150 (+6)
T40. Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen — 79-73—152 (+8)

What It Means: Participants must complete 36 holes for the tournament results to become official, and so five teams will need to complete their second rounds early Wednesday before play begins in a potential third round — with more rain in the forecast throughout the day.

"The rules officials told us we're going to try to get as much golf in as we can," Radley said. "But we did talk about, this could be potentially shortened to two rounds. So I said, we got to give it everything we got. And so I'm proud of them for fighting back like that, and I hope we get the opportunity to play tomorrow."

Up Next: The second round will resume Wednesday at 7 a.m., followed by a shotgun start to round three at 9 a.m.