SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Junior Emily Talley matched her school record round of 67 and the University of Colorado women's golf team shook off a shaky start to lead by three strokes after the first round here at the 2010 Alamo Invitational, the Buffs final tournament of their record-setting fall season.
Colorado, ranked No. 17 by GolfStat, No. 19 in the coaches poll and No. 25 by Golfweek, shot a 3-over par 291 to lead the field by three strokes on the 6,302-par Briggs Ranch Golf Course. The field includes seven teams ranked in the top 50 and two other teams besides CU ranked in the top 20.
No. 38 TCU is in second place, three strokes behind the Buffs at 6-over par 294. The Horned Frogs were atop the leader board until after the Buffaloes had finished their round, slipping from a 3-stroke lead to a 3-stroke deficit vs. CU. No. 42 Texas A&M is in third place at 8-over par 296 while No. 13 Tulane (9-over par 297) is fourth and host Texas-San Antonio and No. 18 Notre Dame are tied for fifth at 10-over par 298.
"We had a rough start, but made a nice comeback," CU coach Anne Kelly said. "We still have a lot of golf to go. From how we started, I'm proud of how we fought hard to come back, especially on the back nine. Emily Talley's round was obviously impressive and Tessa (The) was a key to our round, as well."
Talley's round was a microcosm of the Buffs round as a team, as she bogeyed her first hole, but then she rebounded a little faster than her teammates, as she got back to even par on the fourth hole with a birdie and then eagled the Par-5 fifth hole to go 2-under. She then birdied two of the remaining four holes on the front nine and then had eight pars and one birdie on the back nine.
"Right off the bat, I was abnormally nervous for some reason," Talley said. "On the first hole, I hit a good drive, but I was shaking on my putt. I just had to get my tournament legs back for some reason. Normally when you bogey your first hole, it can get you down. But I got a few good pars, a birdie and then an eagle. On the fifth, I hit two great shots and had a five-foot tap out for an eagle."
Talley is tied for the lead with her 5-under round of 67. It matches her best career round and is one off her career best round of 6-under par, which was also a 67 at the par-73 Dick McGuire Invitational in September. It is her seventh round under par this season, matching Dominique Pytlewski's school record, and she extended her school record with her 15th career round under par. She notched her third round in the 60s this season, tying the school record and she now has seven such rounds in her career, more than doubling the previous school mark.
Talley is tied with TCU's Brooke Beeler in first place, and those two have a five stroke advantage over six other players who shot even par, including junior Jess Wallace and freshman Tessa The, who is playing in CU's top five for the first time replacing sophomore Taylor Doyle, who's still recovering from a car accident she and four other CU players were involved in during CU's Heather Farr Memorial earlier in October.
"I was thinking, if Emily Talley is shooting this far under par, there must be a bunch of us under par, but apparently not," Talley said. "I'm really proud of Tessa. She played awesome for her first tournament where her score counts. I think the pressure of that is good for her."
Tessa The shot even par 72 and is tied for third with six other players. She started the round with three bogeys in her first four holes and was then able to get back to 1-over par with birdies on the seventh and eighth holes. On the back nine, she was able to get three birdies to go with two bogeys to get to even par.
"Tessa really turned it around after a tough start," Kelly said. "That shows a lot, especially for a freshman playing in the top five scoring for the team for the first time. I was proud of her comeback. Jess also played really solid. She could've had a very good round if she could have got a few more of her putts to fall. She didn't putt poorly, but she didn't get them all to fall."
Wallace is also at even par 72 and was 2-over par on the front nine and then 2-under par on the back nine with 14 birdies. She has been at or under par in nine of 13 rounds this season and is looking to extend her school record streak of top five finishes, which currently stands at three.
Jenny and Kristin Coleman both struggled a bit as they are struggling with some illness. Kristin Coleman shot 8-over par 80 while Jenny Coelman shot 9-over par 81, including a triple bogey to close her day out.
"They're not feeling the greatest," Kelly said. "I'm not making excuses for them, but they're not feeling well and not playing well. They've both had such a great fall so far and this is all new to them. I don't think they've played quite this much tournament golf in the fall before. I'm sure they'll make a good comeback over the next two days."
The invitational continues Monday with tee times before an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start in the final round on Tuesday.
t-1. Emily Talley 67
t-3. Jessica Wallace 72
t-3. Tessa The 72
t-58. Kristin Coleman 80
t-65. Jenny Coleman 81
TOP FIVE INDIVIDUALS
t-1. Emily Talley, Colorado 67
t-1. Brooke Beeler, TCU 67
t-3. Tessa The, Colorado 72
t-3. Jessica Wallace, Colorado 72
t-3. Shannon Jungman, UTSA 72
t-3. Maribel Lopez Porras, Tulane 72
t-3. Nicole Zhang, Notre Dame 72
1. Colorado 291
2. TCU 294
3. Texas A&M 296
t-5. Tulane 297
t-5. Tulsa 298
6. Texas-San Antonio 298
7. Notre Dame 302
8. Baylor 303
9. Nebraska 306
10. Wisconsin 307
11. Central Arkansas 308
12. Kansas State 310
13. SMU 312
14. Central Florida 314