KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Senior Kelli Shean carded a three-under 69 leading the No. 14 University of Arkansas women’s golf team into a tie for second place with a 291 after the first round of the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Classic in Knoxville, Tenn.
Shean is tied for second overall after a four-birdie, one-bogey round at Holston Hills Country Club. She played the front nine two-under and shaved off another stroke with a four on the par-five 17th hole to move up.
"We were pretty solid out there today," Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor said. "We actually didn’t have our best stuff but this group is so awesome. They fought hard all day to finish strong. We left a few shots out there but we are in a position to move up the leaderboard.
"Kelli got off to a great start today," Estes-Taylor. Emma hung in there nicely and made five birdies. The rest of the group kinda ham-and-egged it."
Redshirt freshman Emma Lavy carded a one-over 73 in her second collegiate event and is tied for 13th overall. Lavy played plus-three on the front nine but was two-under on the back nine to finish. Lavy had three birdies in the second nine and five for her round.
Freshman Emily Tubert, who won her first collegiate event last week in Oklahoma, is tied for 23rd overall with a first-round 74. Tubert was up-and-down on the front nine. She birdied the second hole but gave it back on the sixth. She rallied to birdie the seventh but doubled the ninth hole before the turn.
Tubert settled in on the back nine playing it one-over.
Senior Corinna Rees is tied for 33rd place after a first-round 75. She was one-over on the front and had a pair birdies on the 15th and 16th holes. Sophomore Victoria Vela rounded out the Razorback scoring. Vela is tied for 56th overall after shooting 78.
Redshirt freshman Rachel Carpenter played in her first collegiate event. Carpenter opened with an 81 and is tied for 72nd overall.
"We play with Tennessee tomorrow and that should be great," Estes-Taylor said. "It’s a great golf course for us but the greens are super-fast. We have to adjust to that in the next round but we’re fired up and ready to go."
Host and No. 31 Tennessee leads the field at Holston Hills Country Club. The Lady Vols opened with an eight-under 280, leading No. 29 Ole Miss and the Razorbacks by 11 strokes. The Lady Rebels and Arkansas are tied for second with a three-over 291.
There is a two-team tie four fourth with No. 18 Kent State and No. 35 TCU both in the clubhouse with 293. The rest of the field includes No. 12 Notre Dame in sixth with 296, Furman in seventh with 298, No. 43 UT-Chattanooga in eighth with 300, and East Tennessee State and James Madison University are tied for ninth with 303. Coastal Carolina and Georgia State are tied for 11th overall with 304, followed by UTSA in 13th with 305, Kentucky in 14th with 307 and UNC-Greensboro in 15th with 312.
Play continues through Sunday.