RIO MAR, Puerto Rico — Senior Emily Tubert and the No. 8 University of Arkansas women’s golf team find themselves in the lead after first round action at the Puerto Rico Classic in Rio Mar, Puerto Rico, Sunday. Tubert, a three-time All-American, has a three-stroke lead over the field shooting a first round 68 in the Razorbacks’ first spring tournament. Arkansas holds a seven-stroke lead over No. 7 Alabama and is in the clubhouse with a first-day 288 on the River Course at Rio Mar Country Club.
"We are off to a good start," Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor said. "We go there and got some good work in. Tubert did a great job leading us today. She has a good mental picture on this golf course and that is evident in the way she played."
The event format features a shotgun start so Tubert began her day on hole 5B and opened with a bogey but settled in getting the stroke back with a birdie on the par 5 eighth hole. She would par the next four holes before finishing the back side of the course with four birdies in her final six holes. Tubert added a birdie on the second hole, a par 4, 388 yarder to finish four-under for the round. Teammates senior Emma Lavy and sophomore Gabriela Lopez also posted good rounds with 73s and are tied for eighth overall. Freshman Summar Roachell is tied for 18th with a 74 and sophomore Regina Plasencia is tied for 46th overall with a 77. Redshirt freshman Kayli Quinton, playing as an individual, opened with a first-round 78 and is tied for 51st overall.
"Emma had a good round today as well," Estes-Taylor said. "It was just a good team effort today. It is the first round of the spring and we are exactly where we want to be heading into the next two rounds."
Lavy, a Fayetteville, Ark., native, started her day on the eighth hole and was really solid through the first 11 holes playing three-under. The front nine gave her more of a challenge and Lavy finished with four bogeys in her final nine holes to finish the day plus-one. Lopez opend on hole 5A and was even as she made the turn on the course. She had three birdies and a bogey in her first five holes. She played the next nine holes plus one moving back to the front nine under par but like Lavy, the course’s opening holes proved challenging. Lopez finished bogey-par-bogey and was plus-one for the round. As a team, the Razorbacks were the only team to play the course even par with a 288. Seventh-ranked Alabama is second with a first-day 295, followed by No. 22 Iowa State with 296, No. 15 North Carolina State and No. 40 GRU Augusta tied for fourth with 297 and No. 29 Auburn and Georgia tied for sixth with 298. The rest of the field includes Tennessee with 300, No. 19 Northwestern with 301, Michigan with 304, No. 25 Kent State with 305, Purdue with 306, Texas Tech with 307, No. 43 TCU with 308 and Missouri in 15th place with 315.
"Now we put today away and focus on the things we want to do to get better," Estes-Taylor said. "We want to build on that tomorrow and focus on Arkansas. We want to hit good, committed golf shots and if we do that everything else will take care of itself. I’m really proud of our start and we are going to go get ’em tomorrow."
Play continues with back-to-back shotgun starts Monday and Tuesday for the three-day event. For more information on Arkansas women’s golf, follow @RazorbackWGolf on Twitter.