Alabama Golf Slips In NCAA Tourney

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Alabama sophomore Courtney Harter aced the 15th hole and senior Kathleen Ekey fired an even-par 72 on Thursday but the Crimson Tide slipped down the leaderboard into a tie for 12th in the third round of the 2009 NCAA Women's Golf Championships at the par-72, 6,443-yard Caves Valley Golf Club.



Alabama shot a 23-over-par round of 311 and enters the final round tied for 12th at 54-over-par 918. USC leads at 26-over 890 with Arizona State second at 27-over 891 and UCLA in third place at 29-over-par 893. North Carolina is fourth at 42-over 906 while Virginia and Denver are tied for fifth at 908.

Harter, a native of Clearwater, Fla., carded the first hole-in-one of her career on the 185-yard par-3 15th hole. She struck a 4-iron just left of the flag, which fed down to the hole and dropped in. The hole-in-one is believed to be the first by a female on the Caves Valley tract. There had also never been a hole-in-one from that tee box by a Caves Valley member.

"I hit a four (iron)," Harter said. "My coach told me to hit it just left of the pin, and I hit it exactly how I wanted to. It hit (on the green) and started rolling down and I actually looked away to put my club in the bag. When I looked up I didn't see it go in the hole, but my coach said it went in. It was pretty exciting. It was the first hole-in-one I have ever had."

"We were in good position coming into today to have a good finish," Alabama Coach Mic Potter said. "I don't think anyone thought we were a danger to win, but obviously we didn't play well. We weren't ready to play for one reason or another; I'm not sure what it was. We just have to adjust our attitudes. We are capable of coming out and shooting a low score on Friday, but mentally we have to be into it."

Ekey, a native of Wadsworth, Ohio, began her third round with three straight bogeys but displayed her senior leadership by responding with birdies on the 15th and 17th holes to make the turn at one-over par. She bogeyed the first and fifth holes but card three birdies on the fifth, seventh and ninth holes to finish at even par. Ekey is tied for 24th head into the final round of her Alabama career on Friday.

"On a golf course like this your attitude is the difference," Potter said. "You choose your attitude. You choose what you are going to be like, and if you don't get off to a good start, you want you choose how to handle it. Kathleen chose to be tough, chose to be tough mentally and to play one shot at a time. She put together some quality shots and good things happened. We have some talented players on this team and when things go wrong you can't hang your head because this course will come back to bite you."

Sophomore Camilla Lennarth is three shots behind Ekey at 12-over-par 228 and tied for 34th. Lennarth carded a 6-over 78 in Thursday's third round after an even-par round of 72 in round two. Harter is tied for 64th at 17-over-233 after an 82 on Thursday that included her ace on the 15th.

Brooke Pancake shot an 81 in the third round and is tied for 74th overall while Rhea Nair carded an 80 and is at 25-over 241.

Southern California's Jennifer Song lead the tournament individually at even- par 216 with Purdue's Maria Hernandez and UCLA's Maria Jose Uribe two shots back in second place at 2-over 218.

Alabama tees off at 11:10 p.m. CDT Friday for the final round. The Tide will be playing with Purdue and LSU in the fourth round. Live stats can be found at www.golfstat.com. Golfstat will also webcast the 16th, 17th and 18th holes on Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the again from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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