Tide Turns in Strong Performance at Derby Invitational



AUBURN, Ala. – After weather delayed the opening of the Derby Invitational in Auburn, Ala., the University of Alabama turned in a solid score and stands in fifth place at the 17-team event. Competing in its third straight field with several top-10 teams, the Tide carded a 308 in the first round of play on Saturday.

“We were in second place throughout much of the day and dropped to fifth late,” head coach Mic Potter said. “So from that standpoint, today was a little disappointing. But we are right in the mix, we just need to come out tomorrow, putt a little better and try to put it all together.”

The tournament, scheduled to be a 54-hole event, was shortened to 36 holes after inclement weather washed out Friday’s first round. Teams from the ACC, SEC and Big 12 are in attendance, including highly-ranked Auburn and Tennessee.

“The course wasn’t too wet,” Potter said. “It played a little longer, because there was no roll, but the scores were fairly high throughout. I don’t think it had too much effect.”

North Carolina holds a slight lead over Auburn, with LSU and  Baylor joining the Tide in the top five on the team leaderboard.

Alabama was led by the duo of standout senior Jenny Suh and junior Sarah Sturm. The former Furman teammates each fired a 76 in opening round play and are tied for 12th in the individual standings.

Suh, the Tide’s all-time single season stroke average record holder, captured the fourth medal of her career in her last outing at the Mercedes-Benz Championship. She fired two birdies and five pars in her round this afternoon.

Sturm, who had struggled in her previous two outings, came back on Saturday with a 76 of her own. The Spartanburg, S.C., native had the second-lowest stroke average on the team a year ago.

Rhea Nair, a true freshman from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, carded a 77 in the first round and joins Sturm and Suh in the top 25. Sophomore Laura Goodwin shot a 79, while true freshman Helena Blomberg posted an 80.

The second and final round of play at the Derby Invitational is slated to begin on Sunday, Oct. 29, at 7:45 a.m. Results can be obtained at www.golfstat.com.