STILLWATER, Okla. – The University of Colorado women’s golf team sits firmly in the middle of the pack after the first round of the NCAA Central Regional which began here Thursday. The Buffaloes shot 18-over par 306, just four strokes shy of breaking into the top eight, a position they will need reach to advance to the NCAA Championships.
“It would be great if we could get in that top eight group,” CU head coach Anne Kelly said. “The best teams tee off in the morning the last day, and I think that’s a little bit easier than to have to wait until the afternoon. I’d love it if we could get in that top eight or nine group … I think we have to hit more greens and putt better and stay focused on one shot at a time.”
Alabama, the No. 9 team according to Golfstat (5/6), and No. 35 California tie for the lead with 7-over par 295s. No. 21 Florida and No. 39 Kent State are close behind at 8-over par 296. Host team and 16th ranked Oklahoma State rounds out the top five with a 10-over par 298 scorecard.
Competing in her program-record fourth consecutive NCAA Regional and the 47th event of her career, senior Jenny Coleman continues to shine for the Buffs. Coleman is tied for sixth at an even par 72 at the challenging 6,200-yard Karsten Golf Club. Her 72 ties for the eighth best 18-hole score at an NCAA Regional in CU history. Incidentally, she ties herself, matching her first round scores from both 2011 and 2013, the latter of which years she competed as an individual.
Coleman began the round with six pars and two bogeys before going par or better on her final 11 holes. She ended her front nine and began her back nine with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 18 and 1, three consecutive pars and a third birdie on the 397-yard, par-4 No. 5.
“Jenny made some good birdie putts,” Kelly said. “She made about a 60-foot birdie putt on the back nine.”
Coleman further extends her other school records with 328 birdies and 1,830 holes at or under par.
Senior Kristin Coleman is tied for 41st at 4-over 76. This is her third appearance at regionals, joining Emily Talley and sister Jenny as the only Buffs to accomplish this feat. Coleman made a birdie on her second hole, the 147-yard, par-3 No. 11, but hit some speed bumps on her next two holes, going over par on both. Despite making three more bogeys down the stretch, Coleman totaled two birdies and 11 pars in her first round. Coleman now has a program-best 1,569 pars in her career at CU.
“Kristin played a solid round of golf,” Kelly said.
Freshman Natalie Vivaldi had a strong showing in her first postseason, finishing the day at 5-over par 77 to tie for 55th.
“I was really proud of Natalie,” Kelly said. “She fought back hard on the second nine and shot 1-under, so that really helped us.”
Vivaldi had six pars on the front nine, but also made two bogeys and double bogeyed on the 492-yard, par-5 No. 14. She had a stronger finish to the day. Though she had two more bogeys, she made six more pars and had a birdie on the 397-yard, par-5 No. 4.
Sophomores Alexis Keating and Jamie Oleksiew had challenging starts to their rounds, but found some footing to end the day.
Keating went over par on five of her first eight holes, but made a birdie on her ninth, the 440-yard, par-5 No. 18. The start to her back nine was also a struggle, with a double bogey and two bogeys on her first five holes. Keating finished the day on a high note though, making three pars and having a birdie to end her round. Oleksiew had two double bogeys and four bogeys on the front nine, but also made a birdie on the No. 18. She had two more bogeys and double bogeys on the first six holes of her back nine, but finished the round with three straight pars.
“Alexis and Jamie struggled a bit, but I’m really hopeful that they’ll bring it around,” Kelly said. “We’ve still got a shot at it. We’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
Kent State’s Wad Phaewchimplee holds a strong individual lead at 7-under par 65. Alabama’s Emma Talley comes in at second with a 4-over par 68 scorecard. Sarah Schober (Florida), Katherine Perry (North Carolina) and Natalie Goodson (Kent State) are all currently tied for third as the only other players under par, each shooting 1-under par 71.
The second round begins Friday at 7:30 a.m. with a shotgun start. The teams continue to fight for a ticket to the NCAA Championships in the final round here Saturday.
|TOP 5 INDIVIDUALS|
|1.||Wad Phaewchimplee, Kent St.||65|
|2.||Emma Talley, Alabama||68|
|t-3.||Sarah Schober, Florida||71|
|t-3.||Katherine Perry, N. Carolina||71|
|t-3.||Natalie Goodson, Kent State||71|