SUGAR GROVE Ill. – University of Arkansas sophomore Cara Gorlei opened NCAA Championship play with early round action at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois, on Friday.
Gorlei, a Cape Town, South Africa, native qualified as an individual after tying for seventh-place overall at last week’s NCAA Columbus Regional in Ohio.
The challenging par 72, 6,343-yard course is the longest the Razorbacks have played all season. Gorlei opened with a par on the first hole but had a bogey and a double bogey to make the turn 3-over on the front nine. She added three more bogeys and three double bogeys to finish her round with a 12-over 84.
Gorlei finished the day tied for 102nd place, just 12 strokes behind the leaders. Gorlei tees off on Saturday at 12:55 p.m. in round two action. There were two even par rounds and no one in the 132-player field finished under par on Friday.
From Shauna Estes-Taylor
I have to say, from all of my days as a player, a coach and caddying, this was probably the most difficult conditions I have seen on a golf course. The temperatures were around 35 degrees with a wind blowing 25 miles an hour and it was raining. Obviously, you can see it in the scores. I’m really proud of Cara. She fought. There were a couple of misfortunes out there on the course today that, I think, on a normal day wouldn’t have taken place. We have three more days of golf and hopefully the conditions will improve and she can execute her game plan. Cara has a good plan in place and just has to go out there and do it. Cara is a tremendous ball striker and these conditions demand that with the wind blowing. We will go out tomorrow and give it our best shot and try and climb that leaderboard.