COLUMBUS, Ohio – Tough windy and cool conditions challenged the field at the 2012 NCAA Central Region Women’s Golf Championship on the Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio, Thursday but the 34th-ranked University of Arkansas battled well posting a 310 for first round action.
Conditions were significantly different than Wednesday’s practice round with steady, strong winds out of the north and cooler temperatures in the low 60s. Those conditions, coupled with a challenging golf course, saw Arkansas’ scores higher than the Razorbacks would like but the first round 310 has the team tied for 12th in the 24 team field.
“I think we got off to a slow start,” Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor
said. “We played tough all day but unfortunately we didn’t finish as strong as I would have liked. We counted a couple of big numbers coming in in tough conditions but that is the same for everyone. This is a championship golf course that requires a lot of thought. It requires eliminating the big numbers.”
The Razorbacks are tied for 12th overall with No. 16 and host Ohio State. Arkansas’ 310 is plus 22 but just 12 shots back of the leader, third-ranked Southern California.
More importantly, the Razorbacks are just two shots out of the coveted top eight, with a chance to move on to the NCAA Championship.
The Razorbacks opened on the 10th hole and were six-over through the first nine holes. The second nine saw the scores change as the conditions did and Arkansas was plus-16 on the front nine.
Sophomore Emily Tubert
paced the team with a three-over 75. Tubert opened play with back-to-back bogeys on 10 and 11, in fact four of five Razorbacks bogeyed the first hole and all five players bogeyed or doubled the 11th.
Tubert settled in getting the strokes back with birdies on 13 and 16 but turned one-over with a five on the par four 18th hole. Her scorecard was unblemished until back-to-back bogeys on six and seven coming in.
Tubert is tied for 19th place with her first-round 75.
Sophomore Emma Lavy
finished her day tied for 34th place with a five-over 77. Lavy also opened with a pair of bogeys on 10 and 11 but birdied 12 moving to plus-one. She bogeyed 14 and dropped the stroke again with a three on the par four 15th hole turning one-over. Lavy had four bogeys on the front nine.
Junior Victoria Vela
and sophomore Emily Podzielinski
are tied for 56th with seven-over 79s. Vela was the only Razorback to shoot par on the opening hole and she was even through the turn. Vela’s solid play continued with the Mansfiled, Texas, native just two over through 15 holes but she played the final three holes plus-five coming in.
Podzielinski was one of two players to play the front or second nine holes better than the first nine Thursday. She turned at plus-four and played the front nine plus-three finishing with strong putt for par on the ninth hole.
Freshman Hally Leadbetter
shot 89 and is tied for 123rd overall. After a tough start on the back nine holes, Leadbetter rallied in the second nine shooting four-over.
“You have to hit the ball in the fairway,” Estes-Taylor said. “The rough is very penalizing and if you do hit it into the rough you have to take your medicine and hit it back into play and try not to take a big number. The greens are fast so you have to be cautious when you have a downhill putt but that also means you can be aggressive with an uphill putt.”
Third-ranked Southern California leads the field with a 10-over 298. The top eight includes No. 9 Georgia with 299, No. 33 Purdue with 301, No. 49 Notre Dame with 304, No. 4 Auburn and No. 14 Tennessee tied for fifth with 306, No. 22 North Carolina State with 307 and No. 10 Vanderbilt, No. 21 Oregon and No. 27 Virginia in a tie for eighth with 308.
The rest of the field includes No. 46 South Florida in 11th with 309, No. 34 Arkansas and No. 16 Ohio State tied for 12th with 310, No. 28 Florida State with 314, No. 39 Ole Miss, Harvard and Michigan are tied for 15th with 315, UTSA in 18th with 317, followed by No. 45 Texas State with 320, Butler with 321, No. 41 Kentucky with 322, UNC Wilmington with 323, Siena College with 328 and East Carolina with 329.
“Tomorrow is a big day for us,” said Estes-Taylor. “This is the type of course where you can get better with each round and we are looking to do just that.”