Alabama is six shots off the lead of second-seeded LSU at even par. Host North Carolina State is in second place at 2-over 290 followed by Ohio State in third at 4-over 292 and Campbell in fourth 5-over 293.
“We jumped out to a big lead and gave ourselves a cushion, and it is a good thing because we did not finish very well,” Crimson Tide Coach Mic Potter said following the round. “The wind picked up on the backside, and we had a little trouble with that … and we had a little trouble putting. We have to play the best we can on every shot the next two days and not let the bad one affect us. We got a little emotionally out of our comfort zone today and the key to a tournament like this is maintain your composure.”
Junior Emma Talley paced the Alabama attack with a bogey-free round of 2-under-par 70. Talley made birdies on the first and fourth holes and closed with 14 straight pars. She enters Friday’s second round tied for third place.
“Emma is a really good ball-striker and she doesn’t make any mistakes with her long game,” Potter said. “She also has a fairly flat trajectory, so the wind doesn’t bother her as much. Her putting has improved tremendously, and she holed several 6- to 7-foot putts for par. To go bogey free out here is pretty good and it shows she is hitting a lot of greens, and her short game is up to where she wants it.”
Fellow junior Janie Jackson carded a 2-over 74 and sits in a tie for 21st place. She made three early birdies to get under par before a pair of double bogeys on the par-5 seventh and 11th holes moved her backwards. Jackson made birdie on the 15th hole and grinded out three pars to close out her round.
Sophomores Mia Landegren and Cammie Gray both carded 3-over-par 75s and are tied for 34th. Freshman Lakareber Abe’s 76 was dropped from the team score and she is tied for 48th.
The top-six finishers at the NCAA Raleigh Regional will advance to the NCAA Championships at The Concession Golf Club on May 22-27 in Bradenton, Fla., and join the teams that have advanced from the NCAA South Bend (Ind.), San Antonio (Texas) and St. George (Utah) Regionals.