TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma took the first-round lead in the windy NCAA Women’s Golf Championship on Tuesday, and Southern California’s Doris Chen was tied for the individual lead with Denver’s Tonje Daffinrud and Stanford’s Lauren Kim.
Oklahoma had an 8-over 288 total at Tulsa Country Club to take a three-stroke lead over UCLA. In 20 mph wind gusting over 30 mph, the Sooners struggled on the difficult closing holes, going from 1 under to 8 over in the final hour.
“The last four holes are playing very tough,” Oklahoma coach Veronique Drouin-Luttrell said. “Everyone was giving shots back on that stretch. You’re just trying to make some pars at that point. But we’re happy to be where we’re at and looking forward to tomorrow.”
Freshman Alexandra Kaui led the Sooners with a 68, Anne Tanquay had a 70, 2012 champion Chirapat Jao-Javanil added a 72, and Emily Collins and Kaitlyn Rohrback shot 78 — with only the top four scores counting in the team total in the 72-hole event.
“A lot of my birdies were just based on placing myself in the correct spot on the course,” Kaui said. “The longest birdie I made was probably a 15-footer.”
Ai Gulugian led UCLA with a 71, and Louise Ridderstrom shot 72.
Defending champion Southern California was tied for third at 13 over with Duke and Arizona State. Chen had a 67, while teammate and defending champion Annie Park shot 75.
“I think throughout the day I was playing pretty steady,” Chen said. “Fortunately, I got some birdie chances late and made some short putts. It was definitely difficult today. But I’ve had some similar experiences from past tournaments and I was just trying to commit to each shot today and commit to my target.”
Southern California has a school-record nine tournament victories this season.
“We’re usually pretty good in the wind and we like conditions that allow you to separate yourself from the field,” USC coach Andrea Gaston said. “Today wasn’t a steady wind, it was gusty and you could really be affected if it started blowing hard in your backswing.
“But we play early tomorrow and start on the back nine, which is easier. Hopefully, we can go out and make a few early birdies and get things going in the right direction.”
Kaui was fourth in the individual standings, and Arizona State’s Noemi Jimenez was another stroke back at 69 along with Michigan State’s Allyssa Ferrell and Campbell’s Kaylin Yost.
UNLV’s Dana Finkelstein had a hole-in-one on the sixth hole.
“I hit a little baby 5-wood and knocked it down under the wind,” said Finkelstein, who shot 75. “It took a couple of bounces on the green and disappeared.”
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