Tide Women Second In Golf Regional
Alabama is one shot back of 49th-ranked Coastal Carolina in second place after the first round. Coastal Carolina got a 3-under-par 69 from Jessica Alexander, who shares the individual lead with Florida State's Jessica Negron.
"I thought it was a very solid start for us today," Alabama Coach Mic Potter said. "Under the circumstances (the tornado in Tuscaloosa) you can never really tell where you are mentally. As it turns out, the girls were pretty focused and ready to play."
No. 9 California is in third place, three shots back of Alabama at 2-over-par 286. North Carolina is in fourth place at 5-over 293 while No. 10 Arizona State and No. 4 Purdue are tied for fifth at 295 (+7). Michigan State and Florida State rounded out the top eight at 9-over-par 297.
The top eight finishers at the NCAA East Regional will advance to the NCAA Championships at the Traditions Club on May 18-21 in Bryan, Texas.
The Tide received remarkably consistent rounds from all five of players in the lineup on Thursday. Stephanie Meadow led the way with a 1-under-par 71 while Jennifer Kirby's 1-over-par 73 was dropped and not counted toward UA's team total that consisted of the low-four scores. Brooke Pancake, Camilla Lennarth and Hannah Collier all carded identical even-par rounds of 72.
"The nice thing was we had all five players in the ballgame all day long," Potter said. "That is the combination for winning golf when you don't have anyone feeling like they have to do something because you don't have a full complement of team members that are playing well. Everyone played well, and everyone played very consistently. We just kept plotting along around even par."
Meadow, a true freshman, carded 15 pars on the first 16 holes – the lone blemish a bogey on the par-3 third hole – birdied the final two holes to close her round. Meadow's back-to-back birdies moved her into the red and left her in a tie for sixth place heading into Friday's second round.
Pancake opened with two early bogeys but countered with three birdies on a stretch of five holes from the sixth to the 10th hole to get under par. She closed with a birdie on the 14th hole and bogeys on the 12th and 17th. She is tied for 11th place.
The Crimson Tide's lone senior, Lennarth, rebounded from a difficult SEC Championship to shoot even par in the East Regional's opening round. She recorded 14 pars on the day to go along with birdies on No. 8 and No. 14 and bogeys on the sixth and the 15th. Lennarth is also tied for 11th entering play on Thursday.
Collier, another true freshman in the Alabama lineup who was starting just her third tournament for the Tide, had a rollercoaster opening nine holes. She started with back-to-back birdies on No. 2 and No. 3 before a stretch of four bogeys (No. 4, 5, 6 and 9) in six holes to shoot 2-over on the front. The Birmingham native again carded back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th holes and seven pars on the back to join Pancake and Lennarth in 11th.
Kirby spent most of the day in red figures before struggling through the middle part of her back nine to finish at 1-over 73 in a tie for 19th. She was 1-under entering the 13th hole before bogeying three of the next four holes to fall to 2-over par. Kirby quickly stuck back with a birdie on the 17th and a par on 18th to close out a strong round.
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