Duncan leads, Florida first at NCAA golf regional

LSU senior Meredith Duncan shot a first-round 4-under-par 68 to put the women's golf team at eighth place -- right on the cut line -- in the 21-team, three-round NCAA East Regional Championship held at the University Club on Thursday.

No. 12-ranked Florida leads the regional field at 2-under-par 286, while top-ranked Auburn stands one stroke back at 1-under 287. Upstart South Florida played a tremedous afternoon round to shoot 1-over-par 289, while the Atlantic Coast Conference's Duke (291), Wake Forest (293) and North Carolina (294) finished the first round in the top six. The SEC's Vanderbilt (296) and LSU (297) rounded out the top eight.

The top eight teams in each of the NCAA's three regional tournaments advances to the NCAA Championships.

Individually, Duncan was joined by Jameica Duncombe of South Florida and Beth Lever of North Carolina at 4-under 68, while Florida's Whitney Code, Furman's Jennifer Perri and Auburn's Celeste Troche were all tied for fourth at 3-under 69.

Other than Duncan, LSU counted scores from Lindy Hitdlebaugh who finished at even-par 72, Brooke Shelton (6-over 78) and Isabel Dornellas (7-over 79). Devon Day finished at 8-over 80.

The teams will swap tee times for Friday's second round, before the team's are re-positioned by ranking for the final round on Saturday.

The trademark wind conditions at the wide open University Club weren't as strong as the course has seen in past tournaments, as temperatures soared above 90 degrees for the better part of the day. The weather is expected to be similar over the final two rounds, with no relief from the high temperatures and no rain in sight.

However, as an high pressure system comes through the state over the next two days, winds may pick up and sent the scores with them.

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