Tide Women's Golf Second At Regional

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – The University of Alabama's top-seeded women's golf team is in second place after a windy and wet first round of the 2012 NCAA East Regional on Thursday at the 6,253-yard, par-72 Penn State Blue Course.

Alabama shot 4-over-par 292 in opening round and are four shots off the lead of eighth-seed South Carolina, who went 6-under in the final three holes to secure the lead after 18 holes. Florida rounds out a trio of Southeastern Conference teams atop the leader board in third place at 6-over 294.

"The course was significantly more difficult with today's conditions than it was in yesterday's practice," Alabama head coach Mic Potter said. "We are in second place, so we held our position. We did our best, and I was pleased with the overall result. We hit a few errant shots and had a couple of three-putts that we should not have had, but this tournament is about being consistent and staying away from mistakes over three rounds."

The top eight finishers at the NCAA East Regional will advance to the NCAA Championships at the Vanderbilt Legends Club on May 22-25 in Franklin, Tenn. After the three SEC teams, Washington, Texas and Texas A&M are tied for fourth with Tulane in seventh and Oklahoma State in eighth.

The second-ranked Crimson Tide were actually at 1-under par with just three players still on the course, but the wind and rain picked up as Stephanie Meadow, Brooke Pancake and Jennifer Kirby finished their final two holes. With it raining sideways, Meadow made bogey on the No. 17, Pancake made bogey on the 17th and 18th and Kirby finished with a double bogey on the 18th after hitting her approach out-of-bounds with a 3-wood as the Tide posted a 4-over round of 292.

Kirby, a junior from Paris, Ontario, Canada, still leads the Alabama contingent at 1-under-par 71 in a tie for fourth place. She eagled the par-5 fifth hole and made the turn at 2-under. Kirby got to three under with a birdie on the 13th before running into trouble on the 18th.

Sophomore Hannah Collier had the most spectacular finish to her round with an eagle-3 on the par-5 18th hole. She is even par and tied for sixth after 18 holes. Collier, a native of Birmingham, also made birdies on the third and 10th holes and bogeys on the sixth, eighth, 11th and 17th.

"This is Hannah's type of golf course," Potter said. "It fits long hitters and allowed her to have some wedges in her hand on approach shots. She made eagle on the 18th, which is a par-5 into the wind, and she must have hit the 3-wood of her life. But we should be able to make some birdies on the par-5s this week, and we will have to take advantage of that."

Meadow, a sophomore, is tied for 24th position after shooting 2-over 74 in the opening round. Pancake, a senior from Chattanooga, Tenn., had gotten back to 1-over par after birdies on the 15th and 16th holes before back-to-back bogeys on the final two closing holes left her tied for 39th at 3-over 75. Johanna Tillström's 79 did not count toward the Tide's score on Thursday.

Alabama will tee off in the second flight of teams on Friday at 11:56 a.m. and be paired with Arizona State and Duke.

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