PEORIA, Ariz. – The seventh-ranked University of Arkansas women’s golf team sits atop the leaderboard after two rounds of the Westbrook Invitational at Westbrook Village Golf Club in Peoria, Ariz., Sunday.
Arkansas battled through two grueling rounds shooting 296-287=583 and carries a two-shot lead into the final round Monday.
The teams played in cool 50 degree temperatures and faced a strong wind all day which gusted to 29 mph. Arkansas moved up and down the leaderboard in the first round finishing second with a 296 in the first 18 holes. No. 9 Washington led the tournament with a three-over par 291; the 291 team score is the fifth best in the two years of this event. The seventh-ranked Razorbacks were second with an eight-over par 296.
Senior Emma Lavy was second shooting a one-under 71 and freshman Gabriela Lopez was tied for third with a 72 in the first round.
As the teams returned for their second round of the day, Arkansas was able to better their scores and move up the leaderboard.
Arkansas moved into the top spot at the midway point of the second round edging past the Huskies. Lopez moved into a tie for the tournament lead and finished her second round three under for a 72-70=142.
Lopez began round two on the third hole of the course and was even through the first three. She birdied six, eight and nine moving to the back side of the course.
Lopez gave two back on the 11th and 12 holes but rallied with an eagle on the par five, 14th hole moving to three-under for the round. She would bogey the final hole to finish at minus-two.
Lavy, a Fayetteville, Ark., native was in the tournament lead after the first round with her one-under 71. She finished the day tied for eighth overall with a second round 75 for 146. Lavy opened round two well and was two-under through eight holes but five birdies on the back nine saw her slide down the leaderboard in round two.
Freshman Regina Plasencia was also inside the top 10 and is 10th overall. Plasencia carded rounds of 74-73=147. Senior Victoria Vela is tied for 20th overall. Vela, a Mansfield, Texas, native, struggled with a first round 81 but rallied with a 70 in the second round for 151. Vela started round two from hole one and birdied four and got an eagle on five to start her round.
Junior Emily Tubert rounded out the Razorback scoring. Tubert opened with a 79 and posted a74 in the second round for 153 and is tied for 30th overall.
“We are in a position to accomplish one of our goals tomorrow,” Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor said. “The team really committed to taking it one shot at a time. Gaby and Emma were great in the first round and did a great job of keeping us in it early. Gaby had an amazing round of golf in the second round and for Victoria to come back and shoot 70 in the afternoon was really great and we needed it. It was a complete team effort today and we needed everyone. We train hard and to shoot your best round in the second round coming down the stretch is really exciting.”
Arkansas has a two-shot lead over No. 9 Washington and No. 15 Texas Tech who are tied for second with 585. Kansas State is in fourth with 603 followed by Mississippi State and host No. 42 Wisconsin with 606. No. 50 Indiana and Eastern Michigan are tied for seventh overall with 611 and the rest of the field includes Iowa with 612, Washington State with 615, Colorado State with 616, Illinois with 619 and Nebraska with 635.
The final round begins at 9:30 a.m. with a shotgun start.
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