BATON ROUGE, La. -University of Arkansas redshirt freshman Emma Lavy battled a tough new golf course leading the No. 26 Razorbacks to a tie for ninth place after first round action at the LSU Invitational in Baton Rouge, La., Friday.
Lavy, a Fayetteville, Ark., native is tied for 13th overall with a first-round, two-over 74 at the University Club, a par 72, 6,194 yard course that has been recently renovated.
As a team, the Razorbacks struggled with the new and challenging greens finishing with a 305, 11 strokes off the lead.
"The greens were tricky out there," said Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor. "Tee to green, we were OK but you really have to use your imagination when executing shots on the green. Imagine a lot of little Volkswagen Bugs buried on the greens and you can get a mental picture of what we faced. You really have to work to hit the greens in the right spot to set up your shots."
Lavy went low for the Razorbacks, playing two-over on each side. Sophomore Victoria Vela also finished well. Vela was four-over on the front but played the back nine even for a 76. She is tied for 32nd.
"Emma was really solid out there today," Estes-Taylor said. "I was really proud of the way she played. Vicky hung in there too. She was even on the back nine and that was great."
Razorback senior Kelli Shean counted a 77 and is tied for 42nd, followed by freshman Emily Tubert who shot 78 and is tied for 49th. Senior Corinna Rees rounds out the Razorback scores with an 81 and is tied for 77th overall.
Seventeenth-ranked Wake Forest leads the field with an opening round 296 followed by No. 25 Texas A&M with a 298, No. 4 Duke and No. 5 LSU tied in third with 300, No. 1 Alabama and No. 7 Virginia with 301 rounding out the top five.
The rest of the field includes No. 42 Louisville in seventh with 303, followed by No. 13 North Carolina at 304, No. 26 Arkansas and No. 18 Tennessee with 305, No. 25 TCU, North Carolina State and Furman tied for 11th with 310, No. 11 Tulane in 14th place with 312, No. 48 Kentucky with 313, No. 39 Ole Miss with 314, Mississippi State in 17th with 316, No. 37 South Carolina in 18th with 319. The College of Charleston, North Carolina-Wilmington and Louisiana Monroe round out the field.
"We learned a lot today," Estes-Taylor said. "We are prepared for tomorrow and plan to move up the leaderboard. Our score today was not indicative of how we played and I’m confident that we’ll come out and make a move in the last two rounds.
"This course reminds me a bit of Blessings," Estes-Taylor continued. "The first time you play it, you’re like ‘holy cow’ but the more you play it, the better it feels."
Estes-Taylor and the Razorbacks have an 8 a.m. tee time. Follow all of the stat action live at golfstat.com or at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.