May 21, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. - The No. 2 Alabama women's golf team is in fourth place at even-par 288 after the opening round of the 2013 NCAA Championships on the par-72, 6,372-yard University of Georgia Golf Course Tuesday.
The Crimson Tide is four shots off the lead of No. 1 Southern California and San Jose State (-4, 284). Duke is third at 2-under 286 with UCLA and Purdue tied for fifth at 1-over 289.
"It was a little sloppy today," Alabama head coach Mic Potter said. "Sometimes you hold on too tight starting out in these types of tournaments. I think we have a lot better in us, but I am very happy with where we are considering we were 5-over after the first six holes.
"We have played enough here to know that you just have to get through the first six holes respectably. Then there are some opportunities after that."
Stephanie Meadow continued her torrid pace with a 3-under-par 69 that is two shots off the lead of San Jose State's Regan De Guzman. De Guzman carded a 5-under 67 in the morning flight. Duke's Celine Boutier joined Meadow in a tie for second with Mississippi State' Ally McDonald and USC's Annie Park tied for fourth at 70.
"Stephanie always seems to shoot under par, under 70 most of the time," Potter said. "She is so solid and so consistent. She drives the ball in play, hits a lot of quality approach shots and is a great chipper and putter. I think she has a good feel and confidence on this golf course as well. Combine her talent with comfort level and it makes for good results."
Meadow, a junior from Jordanstown, Northern Ireland, registered four birdies, just a single bogey and navigated the difficult stretch of holes from one to six at even par. She sank a bride on the par-5 seventh and made the turn at 1-under. Meadow then reeled off back-to-back birdies on the 11th and 12th holes to move to 3-under. She made bogey at the 16th but came right back with a birdie on the 17th and closed with par on 18.
"It was a pretty good day," Meadow said. "It is always good to start off in the 60s at the national championships. Honestly, all I was trying to do was not have any mental mistakes out there and that is my approach all week. I had one today."
Meadow lowered her season scoring average to 71.03, which is the lowest total in school history, bettering her own school record of 72.15 set in 2011.
Freshman Emma Talley fired an under-par round of her own at 1-under 71. A 360-degree lip-out on the par-5 17th hole was all that kept her from four straight birdies to close her round. The Princeton, Ky., native made back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th holes and then closed with a birdie-4 on the finishing hole. Talley is tied for sixth heading into Wednesday's second round.
Senior Jennifer Kirby is tied for 33rd after a 1-over 73. She made three birdies in five holes in the middle of her round to get to 1-under before bogeys on the 15th and 16th holes moved her back to 1-over. Sophomore Daniela Lendl was the Tide fourth score at 3-over 75. Junior Hannah Collier was dropped from the team score at 77.
Alabama will play with Southern California and Duke in the morning flight on Tuesday. Collier will lead things off for the Crimson Tide at 6:30 a.m. (CDT) in round two.
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