It was no surprise to see the Florida Gators in the top spot after Monday’s opening round of NCAA regional play in the Norman Regional at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the Gators were the stroke-play champions at the SEC Championship. Florida would then lose in the opening round of match play to eventual champion Ole Miss, but in their return to competition today, the Gators picked up where they left off – in stroke play that is.
Round One of Regionals Wraps in Norman
“We left there with something to prove,” junior Sierra Brooks said. “Definitely left a sour taste in our mouths after losing the first match.”
Playing in her hometown of Norman, sophomore Kaitlin Milligan sits in sixth place after firing a 2-under 70. Milligan’s four birdies helped position herself two strokes behind leader Michaela Fletcher of Memphis.
Brooks would lead the Gators with a 3-under 69 and is just one shot off the lead of Michaela Fletcher of Memphis. Fletcher, who is ranked No. 100 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, posted a 4-under 68. Fletchers round started and ended with a bogey, but in between she made six birdies.
After a sluggish start on the front nine, the Gators ended the round going 4-under in the last four holes as a team, something that pleased head coach Emily Bastel Glaser.
I was happy with the patience they showed and their attitudes, both were really good today, said Bastel Glaser. We played well at SECs and obviously felt like we left a lot there with not a lot to show for it. But, this group has been really tough and resilient and they did not skip a beat.
The Sooners tee off in the second round at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday off of hole No. 10 and will be paired with golfers from Virginia Tech and Texas A&M.
Texas Tech is the No. 10 seed, but a look at the Red Raiders spring season and they have been playing much better than that. In the Golfweek/Sagarin spring-only rankings Texas Tech checked in at No. 24 and they played like it on day 1. Texas Tech finished at 1-under 287 and in a four-way tie for third place Texas, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
The top six teams will advance to the NCAA finals later this month at the Blessings Golf Course in Fayetteville, Ark.
The team played really well today. I feel like we have been getting stronger all spring and it finally came together today, said Texas Tech head coach JoJo Robertson. We know its a three-round tournament so well have to come out tomorrow ready to play again.
Wake Forest, the No. 2 seed, is currently on the outside looking in after a 2-over 290 and sitting in a tie for 8th place. … Defending NCAA champion Jennifer Kupcho of Wake Forest shot a 1-under 71 and is currently three shots off the lead. … the scoring average for round 1 was 74.66. … Purdue led the field in birdies made with 17. … Day 2 of the three-day event is on Tuesday.
The NCAA Division I womens golf regionals began Monday at four sites across the country: Tumble Creek Club in Cle Elum, Wash., Forest Akers West Golf Course in Lansing, Mich., Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club in Norman, Okla., and Saugahatchee Country Club in Opelika, Ala.
The regionals will take place Monday-Wednesday with the top six teams from each advancing to the NCAA Championship.
Currently in: 1. Kent State (-6), 2. Arizona (+2), 3. Illinois (+4), 4. Indiana (+5), 4. Michigan State (+5), 6. Campbell (+6)
No surprise: Kent State. Golden Flashes head coach Greg Robertson was pleased with his teams performance on Day 1. Sure, Kent State had about 15 holes of perfect weather before winds started to whip up and temperatures began to drop, but that wasnt the reason the Flashes found themselves as the only team under par and leading by eight shots after the first round. With four players shooting par or better, Kent State drove it well on a tough tee-to-green golf course with thick rough. We got off to a good start, made some birdies and just kept it rolling, Robertson said. … They put themselves in position to hit the ball close into the green and make birdies. Panthongs 68 led the way, but Michaela Finn and Thitapa Pakdeesettak added 71s and Chloe Salort chipped in with a 72. (Finn capped her round with a hole-out eagle on the par-4 18th.) No. 1 player Karoline Stormo shot 76, but that included bogeys on each of her final three holes. Robertson is confident that as the weather worsens these next two days – cooler weather, some rain and more wind – his team can continue to widen the gap. Weve been playing in it all spring, so well be used to it for sure, he said.
Biggest surprise: Indiana. The Hoosiers, ranked 55th by Golfstat, were the final team into regionals. The No. 14 seed didnt play like it Monday, shooting 5 over. Kari Bellvilles opening 70 led the way and Indiana threw out only a 78, which was far better than most teams throw-out scores.
Work to do: Stanford. The top-seeded Cardinal played alongside Kent State and Arizona in the early group, but they were unable to match their counterparts. Mike Liu, playing in the No. 5 spot, was the only player to shoot under par, carding a 1-under 71. Andrea Lee and Albane Valenzuela combined to shoot 7 over.
Currently in: 1. Vanderbilt (-1), 2. Duke (+2), 3. Florida State (+3), 3. East Carolina (+3), 5. Tennessee (+6), 5. Maryland (+6)
Individual leaders: Virunpat Olankitkunchai, Maryland; Auston Kim, Vanderbilt; Micheala Williams, Tennessee (-2)
No surprise: Duke. No Leona Maguire, no problem for the top-seeded Blue Devils. This is one of the deepest teams in the country and on a long and wet golf course, they proved it Monday. Four players are at T-14 or better, including Ana Belac and Jaravee Boonchant, who each shot even par. Conditions should dry out and the course should play faster these next two days – and with plenty of firepower, Duke should remain in position to advance.
Biggest surprise: East Carolina. Despite not finishing better than fourth all season, the Pirates find themselves in the mix early as the No. 14 seed. This is an experienced squad with two seniors and two juniors, including junior Siranon Shoomee, who led the way with an opening 71.
Work to do: Auburn. Even with the venue change away from their home course, the host Tigers didnt have the start they were looking for Monday. Among Auburns counting scores, there were just three birdies, and the Tigers top player, Julie McCarthy, was the throw-out score with a 4-over 76.
Currently in: 1. Florida (-4), 2. North Carolina State (-3), 3. Texas Tech (-1), 3. Texas (-1), 3. Ole Miss (-1), 3. Mississippi State (-1)
No surprise: Florida. Gators head coach Emily Glaser has preached patience all season. That continued Monday. We played smart golf, she said. As a result, third-seeded Florida carded just seven bogeys among its counting scorers. Stars Sierra Brooks and Marta Perez shot 3-under 69 and 2-under 70, respectively, taking advantage of soft conditions. Florida is especially motivated after winning the stroke-play portion of the SEC Championship but losing in the first round of match play to Ole Miss, which went on to win and is currently T-3 here in Norman.
Biggest surprise: North Carolina State. The Wolfpack havent made it out of regionals since 2015, but after 18 holes they are in great position. Ranked 50th in the country and the 13th seed in Norman, N.C. State was able to throw out an 81 and post a 3-under 285, the programs second-best round at an NCAA regional.
Work to do: Wake Forest. The second-seeded Demon Deacons got 71s from its dynamic duo of Jennifer Kupcho and Emilia Migliaccio. But they also had an 85, which they threw out, and a 75. Plus, Kupcho bogeyed two of her final three holes. Theres no reason to panic, though, as Wake is just three shots out of a tie for third. In fact, just 10 shots separate leader Florida and 13th-place TCU.
Currently in: 1. USC (-7), 2. Northwestern (-4), 3. Washington (-3), 4. Arkansas (-1), 5. San Jose State (+1), 6. UCF (+2)
No surprise: USC. Unlike the other three regionals, the weather was almost perfect in Washington as there was almost no wind. Its expected to pick up on Tuesday, but the top-ranked Trojans were glad to take advantage of the docile conditions Monday. Gabriela Ruffels led the way with a 3-under 69 and Jennifer Chang and Alyaa Abdulghany added 70s. USC head coach Justin Silverstein was proud of the way his team handled the hard greens and difficult hole locations. For the most part, we had great speed on the greens from our entire lineup, he said. The Trojans also had great scores down the lineup. Freshman Malia Nams 73 was the non-counting score for a deep USC squad that has won six times this season.
Biggest surprise: UCF. The Knights traveled farther than every school in this regional other than Miami, and despite being the 13th seed sit inside the number after Day 1. Collado is a sophomore from Mexico who notched just two top-20s all season. Collados opening 6-under 66 was her best college round ever as she posted seven birdies to just one bogey.
Work to do: South Carolina. One of just two SEC schools making the trek to Washington, the third-seeded Gamecocks looked out of sorts Monday. It started with a triple bogey on the first hole from No. 1 player Lois Kaye Go and ended with no players inside the top 20 or shooting better than even par.