BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – The LSU Tigers posted a solid opening round in the team qualifying portion of the Southeastern Conference Women’s Golf Championships at the Greystone Country Club Legacy Course here Wednesday.
The Tigers posted a 3-over par round of 291 with a consistent run of counting scores – 72, 73, 73,73 – with a fifth score of 74.
LSU is fourth, three shots behind first-round leader Auburn at even par 288. South Carolina and Florida are tied for second at 1-over par 289. It is three shots back to Ole Miss in fifth at 4-over 292 and four more shots back to Arkansas in sixth at 8-over par. The final spots in the top eight are held by Vanderbilt in seventh (+10) with Georgia and Texas A&M tied for eighth at 11-over par.
While the course played completely different from a year ago when it was extremely gettable, this year the Legacy Course showed some teeth in the opening round thanks to a steady 15-18 mile wind that gusted near 25 at various points in the round.
It made the back nine play significantly harder and made greens in regulation and par putts that much more important.
The top eight teams at the end of 54 holes will advance to the match play portion of the tournament that will determine the league champion, Saturday and Sunday. The individual champion will be crowned on Friday at the end of the stroke play portion of the tournament.
LSU got off to a great start with six birdies on the first three holes when wind conditions were a little less severe and turned at 1-under. The Tigers remained at or close to the lead most of the way, posting 4-over on the back nine and did not have a score higher than bogey on the cards.
“I feel like each tournament we haven’t gotten off to the fastest start,” said LSU Coach Garrett Runion. “That’s one of the things we have talked about. Then to see us birdie four of our five birdie the first hole and a couple of more birdies after that. One I was glad to see that happen and two, I was thinking we were keeping it going from last year.
“The back nine the wind picked up a little more. It is a tougher nine. It’s a little bit more of a hang on type nine. They played well. They made a lot of pars. Our goal is to not make anything worse than a bogey and we did that today. We played the par 3s exceptionally well. We could have probably played the par 5s a little bit better but we will take it where we are at right now.”
LSU led the field in scoring on the par 3 holes at 3-under par, getting six birdies on those holes. LSU’s +7 on the par 4 holes was third best in the field on the opening day. The Tigers recorded 12 birdies today, T3 in the 14-team league field and was third best in total parts at 61.
Ingrid Lindblad, who was second in last year’s championship, put herself again in position with an even par round of 72. Lindblad had birdies on the first and third holes in the round and had just one bogey on the back nine to stand at in a tie for eighth place.
Marina Escobar Domingo of Florida is the leader at 5-under par 67 with eight birdies on her card, including four of the first six holes. She is one clear of Julie Gregg of Arkansas at 4-under 68 with Chiara Tamburlini of Ole Miss and Megan Schofill of Auburn tied for third at 2-under 70.
In all, seven golfers broke par on the opening day.
Carla Tejedo, Elsa Svensson and Jessica Bailey all shot 1-over par 73s with the freshman Svensson and the senior Bailey making their SEC debuts over the course. They are in a big group tied for 11th place.
“Our two rookies on the SEC championships they played well,” said Coach Runion. “The moment wasn’t too big for them. It was really two very solid rounds. I was very impressed with them. They played well with the magnitude of the event.”
Tejedo had four birdies on her round, Bailey three and Svensson two.
Latanna Stone had a solid round of 2-over 74 with one birdie on her card.
“I’m very pleased with where we are out,” the coach said of his Tigers. “You can’t win it on the first day, but you can definitely kind of play yourself out of it. We are in the right position after day one. There are a few teams that kind of separated themselves and we are right there with those teams. The goal (Thursday) is to play better than we did (Wednesday). That’s been our goal each tournament to play better the next day.”
LSU will go off again at 8:50 a.m. on Thursday with Arkansas and Ole Miss. The second round live scoring will be available on Golfstat.com and updates throughout the round on Twitter @LSUWomensGolf.
SEC Women’s Golf Championships
Greystone Country Club – Legacy Course
Team Results (Par 288)
1 Auburn 288 E; 2 South Carolina 289 +1; 2 Florida 289 +1; 4. LSU 291 +3; 5. Ole Miss 292 +4; 6. Arkansas 296 +8; 7. Vanderbilt 298 +10; 8. Georgia 299 +11; 8. Texas A&M 299 +11; 10. Kentucky 300 +12; 11. Alabama 302 +14; 12. Mississippi State 305 +17; 12. Tennessee 305 +17; 14. Missouri 306 +18.
LSU Scores (Par 71)
T8. Ingrid Lindblad 72 E
T11. Carla Tejedo 73 +1
T11. Elsa Svensson 73 +1
T11. Jessica Bailey 73 +1
T22. Latanna Stone 74 +2
(Press release via LSU Athletics)