May 5, 2005
LAS CRUCES, N.M.--The No. 9 Lady Volunteer golf team fired the second-best round in program history at the NCAA Regionals and sits atop the 21-team field with a three-over-par score of 291 after the first day of the NCAA West Regional concluded on Thursday. Freshman Marci Turner paced the Orange and White with a one-under-par 71 and is tied for third. Tennessee managed the strong winds on the par-72 course well and leads No. 16 Southern California by two strokes.
"I feel like this team is coming into its own. We've had two or three student-athletes play well every week but we needed everyone to play well at the same time," said Lady Vol Head Coach Judi Pavon. "I think that everyone's game is looking really sharp. We handled the wind pretty well today, the team has a good attitude about that."
Turner, a Tompksinville, Ky., native, tied for the best opening-round score and matched the program standard for lowest round by a freshman in the Lady Vols' history at the Regionals. She began the day with a flurry, posting back-to-back birdies on holes 10 and 11 before making the turn at one-under par 35. The 2003 Miss Kentucky Golf would drop to even-par following a bogey on the par-four fifth, but responded with an impressive birdie on the eighth hole. She made par at nine to wrap up her day in a stalemate with two other golfers.
"If we can all play well at the same time that is awesome," Turner said. "Right now we are all at the top of our games I think, and hopefully we can stay like that."
Violeta Retamoza (Aguascalientes, Mexico) finished the day at even-par 72 and is deadlocked with four others for sixth place. The eighth-ranked collegian was at two-over par after five holes before she used an eagle on the par-five 15th to surge back to even. Retamoza had a tremendous approach shot to place it about 12 feet short of the pin and then calmly buried the putt. She would move to one-under-par after a birdie on the third, although it was short-lived as she bogeyed the fifth. The Southeastern Conference Golfer of the Year quickly regained her composure, however, and turned in three consecutive pars to conclude the day. The score matched the junior's career low while competing at the Regionals.
"I felt very good. I didn't have good rounds at the end of the SECs so I'm very happy," said Retamoza. "I had a couple of mistakes but not as many as in my last round (at SECs) so I'm very satisfied."
Jessica Shepley (Oakville, Ontario) also carded a 72, which is the lowest round the senior has turned in at a Regional event in three years on Rocky Top. The captain bogeyed the first hole of the day, the 10th, before gaining that stroke back with a birdie on the 12th hole. She made the turn with at one-over-par 37. She bogeyed the next hole but immediately responded with a birdie to remain at one-over par heading to the sixth hole. A bogey there inflated Shepley's total to two-above-par, but the senior stayed calm. On the par-five eighth hole she set off a roar among the Tennessee faithful, pitching in a shot from about 37 yards out for an amazing eagle. The momentum propelled her to make par on the last hole of the round.
"I played pretty consistent. I made a few putts from less than 10 feet and just kept the ball in play," said Shepley. "I misclubbed myself a couple of times but overall I played pretty consistent."
Sarah Bonner-Shanks (Kingsport, Tenn.) had a challenging start to the day as she was at four-over-par after just three holes. The senior did not lose her composure, however, as she mixed in one bogey with three birdies to make the turn at two-over par 38. She would claw all the way back to even following birdies on the second and fifth holes, respectively, before wrapping up the day with a total 76. She is tied for 33rd.
Golda Johansson (Lund, Sweden) carded a 77, her third-lowest score at Regionals competition. The junior played solid golf throughout her round, making par or better on nine of her first 11 holes. She is deadlocked in 45th place.
The Orange and White led the entire day, as they sat at even-par through nine holes. The Women of Troy and fifth-ranked Georgia were three shots back at that point. Four other squads were within five strokes at the turn, but Tennessee would play solid down the stretch to maintain its advantage.
USC ended the day in second with a total of 293. The Lady Bulldogs and No. 25 California concluded the round tied for third place at eight-above-par 296 while Brigham Young is alone in fifth with a score of 298. UNLV and Oregon are tied for sixth with team totals of 301 while Washington State has a precarious hold on the eighth and final qualifying spot with a tally of 302. No. 17 Arizona (303), defending national champion UCLA (304) and national runner-up Oklahoma State (304) round out the top 10.
Round two of the event commences at 7:30 a.m. on Friday with UT hitting the course at 12:30 p.m. Complete results of the tournament can be found at www.golfstat.com.
|Top 10 Individuals|
|T1.||Rachel Newren, BYU||69|
|T1.||Sophia Sherida, California||69|
|T3.||Marci Turner, Tennessee||71|
|T3.||Alice Kim, Northwestern||71|
|T3.||Whitney Wade, Georgia||71|
|T6.||Violeta Retamoza, Tennessee||72|
|T6.||Jessica Shepley, Tennessee||72|
|T6.||Sofie Andersson, California||72|
|T6.||Irene Cho, Southern California||72|
|T6.||Tanya Dergal, Southern California||72|