CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The second-ranked University of Arkansas women’s golf team used a late hole push to move up the leaderboard in the first round of the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational at the UNC Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill, N.C., Friday.
Arkansas struggled out of the gate starting on the 10th hole of the course, playing the back nine 12-over with four of the five players over par.
“We got off to a sloppy start today but the cool thing about this group is they fight to the end,” Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor said. That is why we moved up the leaderboard. It was a tremendous finish by Samantha (Marks) and that is just one good example of the heart of this team. Samantha was five-over on the back nine and five-under on the front nine.”
Marks, a transfer from North Carolina, leads the Razorbacks after the first round. The Maitland, Fla., native is in the clubhouse with an even par 72 and is tied for 16th overall.
Marks turned at plus-five but posted birdies on holes three, four, five, seven and eight to return her scorecard to even for the round.
Junior Regina Plasencia is tied for 29th shooting a two-over 74, followed by junior Gabriela Lopez who is tied for 43rd with a three-over 75. Freshman Jordy LaBarbera is tied for 65th place shooting 77 and sophomore Summar Roachell rounds out the Razorback scoring with a 78. Roachell is tied for 69th overall.
Lopez also played the second nine holes even with a birdie on her final hole of the day to help Arkansas move up.
As a team, the Razorbacks are just 11 strokes back of leader No. 1 South Carolina. The Gamecocks lead the field with a 287.
“We finished strong and gained some momentum,” Estes-Taylor said of the second nine. “We have a mountain to club but our game plan is to go out tomorrow and put our best foot forward to give ourselves the opportunity to win on Sunday. We will probably start on the back nine again tomorrow and we know that you kinda just have to hang on and get to the front. Every team has a tough day and that’s OK. We are not going to change our game plan or our process. We are going to move on and hopefully move up the leaderboard.”
INSIDE THE ROPES
T16 Samantha Marks 72 E
T28 Regina Plasencia 74 +2
T43 Gabriela Lopez 75 +3
T65 Jordy LaBarbera 77 +5
T69 Summar Roachell 78 +6
The Field: No. 2 South Carolina 287, No. 20 Wake Forest 288, No. 5 Duke 288, No. 25 North Carolina State 289,No 56 Oregon 291, No. 13 Vanderbilt293, No. 57 Florida 293, No. 15 Louisville 296, No. 29 LSU 296, No. 3 Arkansas 298, No. 22 Virginia 298, No. 65 North Carolina 298, No. 14 Auburn 298, No. 88 Oklahoma 299, Rollins College 300, No. 62 Michigan State 301, No. 33 Alabama 303, No. 81 Ole Miss 310.
For more information on Arkansas women’s golf, follow @RazorbackWGolf on Twitter.