BRYAN, Texas – The 11th-ranked University of Arkansas women’s golf team posted one of the best rounds in the morning session with an eight-over 296 in second day action at the 2011 NCAA Women’s Golf National Championship in Bryan, Texas, Thursday.
Arkansas shaved nine strokes off the first day total of 305 and is in the clubhouse with a 601.
The Razorbacks moved to 14th overall in the field of 24 teams. The Razorbacks have shot 601 for two rounds and trail leader second-ranked UCLA by just 17 strokes. Arkansas is just three strokes out of a tie for 11th and just four-back of a three-way tie for eighth place.
"Again I think we threw some shots away down the stretch but it was definitely better today," said Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor. "At a National Championship you have to play tidy, you have to clean it up and we need to just keep cleaning it up. If you get in the bunkers here you are dead and if we can just stay out of the bunkers, we can post a low number."
Conditions were again tough. It was extremely and unexpectedly windy for the morning session. The day was mostly cloudy and overcast and it began to sprinkle as the Razorbacks were coming off the par 72, 6,260 yard Traditions Golf Course.
"Conditions here are hard," Estes-Taylor said. "It’s blowing 20-30 miles per hour and it’s really hard to control our ball flight. We are going to get on the practice tee and work a little on hitting into the crosswind and making that work to our advantage."
Senior Kelli Shean was the lowest Razorback for the second day in a row. The Cape Town, South Africa, native posted a two-under 70, paring with Wednesday’s 75 for 145.
Shean’s front nine scorecard was a busy one. She opened with a bogey on two and picked up a pair of birdies thanks to clutch putts on four and seven. Shean bogeyed eight and nine turning at one over.
Shean moved back even with a birdie on the par four 12th hole and added two more on 15 and 16 moving to two-under.
"I think yesterday with the wind blowing and all of that you kind of learned how to handle the course," Shean said. "I had a couple little things go my way today. We have been aware of the wind and Shauna and Mike (Adams) have been telling us the wind is up there and to take advantage of it."
Freshman Emily Tubert is in the clubhouse with a one-over 73 to go with her first round 76 for 149. Tubert, like several of her teammates, battled with her putter today getting close but missing out on several birdie chances.
Tubert was plus-two on the front nine but got those strokes back with a pair of twos, first on the par three 11th hole and again on the 16th. She would give one back with a bogey on 17 finishing plus one.
Redshirt freshman Emma Lavy came back with a74 after Wednesday’s 80 for 154. Lavy was even through the first nine and had a birdie and three bogeys on the back nine.
"I missed in the right spots today," Lavy said. "I didn’t hit it in crazy places, I missed on the greens and putted. I missed some putts but it was better. I have a lot more confidence than yesterday and I hope to keep that going."
"Emma is just so solid," Estes-Taylor said. "She has been all year and it’s great to see her hard work pay off."
Sophomore Victoria Vela and senior Corinna Rees matched rounds both opening with 77s followed by 79s in the second round.
Arkansas tees off in the morning flight trailing No. 2 UCLA (584), No. 4 Purdue (587), No. 7 LSU (588), No. 27 Texas A&M (589), No. 22 Vanderbilt (591) and No. 5 Virginia (591) who are in the top five.
The other teams in front of Arkansas include No. 25 Florida (592) in seventh, No. 12 California, No. 9 Tennessee and No. 15 North Carolina (598) who are all tied for eighth and No. 6 Arizona, No. 10 Arizona State and No. 39 Minnesota (599) who are all tied for 11th.