April 21, 2012
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Two 3-over 75 performances from senior Nathalie Mansson and junior Erica Popson powered the No. 13-ranked Tennessee women's golf team to an eleven-stroke improvement on Saturday during second round action at the 2012 SEC Women's Golf Championship.
Opening the day on the back side at the par-72, 6,112-yard Blessings Golf Club course, Popson overshot the green with her third shot on No. 12 to double-bogey the par-5 hole. The Davenport, Fla., native was 3-over through the first three holes, but righted the ship as she birdied two of the next five holes. The second nine of the round was not all smooth sailing, however, as she added two bogeys on her way in.
Popson, who shaved eight strokes off her first round performance, will head into the final day tied for 31st place.
Mansson also carded a 75 in round two, punctuated by back-to-back birdies on No. 2 and No. 3. The Stockholm, Sweden, product also gave up strokes on the way in, tallying three bogeys in the last six holes.
On the whole, Tennessee was 13-over through the last six holes of the day.
"This golf course is tough," Popson said. "If you lose focus it will cost you. We can't afford to lose any focus while we are out there or we will lose shots. We have to keep focused whether it's at the beginning of the round or at the end."
Led by 75s from Popson and Mansson, the Lady Vols followed Friday's opening score of 320 with a 21-over 309. UT is in 11th with a 629 (+53) total.
Junior Sara Monberg followed up Friday's 4-over 76 performance with another 4-over tally on Saturday. Tennessee's individual low scorer, Monberg is tied for 14th position.
Rounding out the Lady Vol performers on day two were freshman AJ Newell and sophomore Kaitlyn Rohrback. Newell, who followed a day-one 82 with a 11-over 83, is tied for 54th, while Rohrback added a round two 84 to her first round 82 performance for a 166 total and sole possession of 54th place.
"Today was a little better than yesterday and we had three decent scores come in," head coach Judi Pavon said. "I think Nathalie and Erica feel better abut their games going into tomorrow and Sara has played well and wants to turn in a good score. We need a better fourth score tomorrow and I am looking for both AJ and Kaitlyn to step up and have better rounds."
No. 5 Auburn will head into the final round of the conference tournament atop the leader board at 27-over 603. The Tigers made a charge in the standings with a score of 9-over in the second round.
Auburn's Patricia Sans leads all individuals with a two-under 142 tally. Only two golfers in the 60-woman field enter round three under par.
"We have a lot better team than we have played," Popson noted. "If we can have a solid round tomorrow we can move up in the field and have a respectable tournament."
The Orange and White will start Sunday's final round from the 12th hole at 8:00 a.m. CT in a group with No. 10 Vanderbilt and Mississippi State.
Live results can be found at golfstat.com, while twitter.com/ladyvol_golf will have updates.