April 16, 2004

BATON ROUGE, La. - Head Coach Judi Pavon's golf squad opened up the 2004 Southeastern Conference Championships at the University Club of LSU in Baton Rouge, La., with a solid eight-over 296 round to start the tournament in third place. Defending-champion Auburn holds the lead with a four-over 292, while Vanderbilt is in second with a seven-over 295.

"We did not finish too well and lost a lot of shots in the last three holes," Pavon said. "Although we did get off to a solid start, we have to finish better. I am glad to be in the position we are in and play with the last group tomorrow."

Tennessee sophomore Violeta Retamoza (Aguascalientes, Mexico) tied her season-low with a three-under 69 to pace the field. Arkansas' Amanda McCurdy sits two strokes behind Retamoza with a one-under 71. Also of note, Retamoza's three-under round is UT's second-best effort at an SEC Championship behind only senior Mary Jan Fernandez's 66 carded during the second round of the 2002 edition.

"Violeta had a great day," Pavon said. "She actually played better than she shot today, but had a few bogies out there. She was nervous at times, but came through when we really needed her round."

As for the rest of the orange-clad linksters, junior Jessica Shepley (Oakville, Ontario, Canada) shook off a rough tournament at the Bryan National to post a one-over 73 to tie for sixth place, while junior Teesha Ash (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and sophomore Golda Johansson (Lund, Sweden) fired a pair of five-over 77s to finish in a tie for 37th place. Freshman Holly Cantwell (Morristown, Tenn.) rounded out the UT effort with an 81 to tie for 53rd place.



"I feel great after today," Retamoza said. "I had a good day, but would have liked to have hit more putts. I am happy though and look to play with great heart tomorrow as we are in a good position. As for our team, we are in a good position and have a chance. We wanted to make it into the top three and we got there. We just want to stay there the rest of the way."

Next up, the Lady Vols will pair up with Auburn and Vanderbilt in the second round on Saturday, which begins at 8:30 a.m. CT. UT then concludes the tournament on Sunday with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m.

SEC Championships
At University Club of LSU (Baton Rouge, La.)

Team Scores:

2.Vanderbilt 295
6.Louisiana State299
8.South Carolina303
Mississippi State306

Top Scorer (field=60):

1.Violeta Retamoza, Tennessee69

UT Scores:

1.Violeta Retamoza69
t6.Jessica Shepley73
t37.Teesha Ash77
t37.Golda Johansson77
t53.Holly Cantwell81


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