PALO ALTO, Calif. – The 12th-ranked University of Arkansas women’s golf team is in fifth place, just three strokes back, at the Pac 10-SEC Challenge in Palo Alto, Calif., Friday.
Freshman Emily Tubert and seniors Kelli Shean and Corinna Rees lead the Razorbacks with even par 71s on the par 71, 6,148 yard Stanford Golf Course. The trio is tied for ninth overall.
"There are a lot of great teams here and there really isn’t much separating the top and bottom of this field," Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor said. "You have to take care of business with a field like this and we did OK today.
"We definitely did not play our best golf today," she continued, "but we’re still in the hunt. They saw that our average day still gives us an opportunity to win."
Fifth-ranked UCLA jumped to the top of the leaderboard with an opening round 285 late on the first day taking the lead from No. 26 Auburn who slipped in the final three holes falling into a tie for second with No. 13 Arizona with 286.
Washington, ranked No. 30 this week, is fourth in the clubhouse with a 287.
Arkansas is one stroke back with a 288, just three strokes behind the Bruins in the lead. The rest of the top of the field includes No. 3 Alabama sixth with 289, No. 4 California seventh with 290, and No. 21 Tennessee and No. 10 Vanderbilt tied for eighth with 291.
Tubert, a Burbank, Calif., native was up and down on the scorecard. She played the front nine one-over with three bogeys and two birdies. She turned shooing a one-under 35 on the back nine with two birdies and a bogey.
Shean was a bit more even with a bogey on the par-four second hole, a hole that she along with Tubert and Rees, all bogeyed. She got it back with a birdie on the par-four 18th finishing even.
Rees played the front nine one-under with two birdies and a bogey but was one over on the back.
"Corinna was so solid for us," Estes-Taylor said. "She was two over through 12 and had two birdies coming in to shoot par. She was really the difference-maker for us today."
Sophomore Victoria Vela struggled to find her groove on the front nine and was four-over at the turn. She settled in and finished strong playing the back nine even and counting a 75 for the Razorbacks. She is tied for 48th overall in the 108th player field.
Redshirt freshman Emma Lavy also finished strong and played even on the back nine. She finished with a 76 and is tied for 55th overall.
"We’re going to stick to our game plan and take care of business for the next two days and see what happens," Estes-Taylor said.
The rest of the field featured a two-way tie for 10th with No. 36 Stanford and No. 7 Georgia at 293, followed by No. 2 Southern California in 12th with 294, Kentucky in 13th with 295, No. 34 South Carolina in 14th with 299, No. 24 Ole Miss with 301, No. 27 Oregon with 307, No. 25 Florida at 309, Washington State with 315, No. 1 LSU with 316, Mississippi State with 319 and Oregon State rounds out the 21-team field with 320.
Play continues through Sunday in the final fall event for the Razorbacks.