Sara Monberg had her best round since the Mercedes-Benz in October
May 7, 2011
By Zach Stipe, Media Relations Assistant
AUBURN, Wash. - Sophomore Erica Popson and the 11th-ranked Tennessee Lady Vol golf team ignored soggy and rainy conditions to better their positions on Friday during second round action at the NCAA West Regional.
Popson increased her individual lead to three strokes, firing a 3-under 69 at the par-72, 6,266-yard Washington National Golf Club course, giving her a 68-69=137 (-7) total, while the Lady Vols moved into second-place with a remarkable 1-under 287 day-two score. UT has a 292-287=579 (+3) two-round total.
No. 1 USC leads by seven shots at 572 (-4), while No. 6 Virginia is in third at 591 (+15).
The top eight teams and top two individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the NCAA Championships from May 18-21 at the Traditions Club in Bryan, Texas.
"We played great today," Lady Vol head coach Judi Pavon said. "We've had some good first rounds at a couple of our most recent tournaments, but we've stumbled a little in round two. They went out focused and determined today, though. It was wet and rainy on the back nine, but they played tough and turned in a good round. "
Tennessee will tee off in the lead group with USC and Virginia off of No. 1 at 9:06 a.m. PT for the final round on Saturday.
Texas A&M and Oregon are tied for eighth - the final NCAA qualifying position - at 603 (+27).
Golfstat.com will have live results, while @LadyVol_Golf will provide updates on Twitter. Additionally, the West Regional will have a live blog at: http://www.gohuskies.com/sports/w-golf/spec-rel/050311aaa.html..
Popson started the day right where she left off on Thursday, making three birdies in her first five holes.
Pavon Talks West Regional Day 2
She made bogeys on No. 7 and No. 10, however, but never lost the individual lead. And as the rain got worse, the Davenport, Fla., native got better. She made birdie on No. 11 and just as the rain started pouring down on No. 15.
"It rained pretty much the whole back nine," Popson said. "When I got off to my fast start I thought I was going to go low today then I made some mistakes, but that's going to happen in weather like this. I'm just happy that I didn't let missing a couple of short putts affect the rest of my day. The postseason is where it matters, you have to put your heart into where it matters."
She has a three-stroke lead on Lizette Salas of USC, and the two will be paired together on Saturday.
"She's been tough out there," Pavon said. "She's keeping her thoughts positive and she's doing a really great job. Her attitude and her mental game separate her."
Sophomore Sara Monberg had a near flawless second round. The Juelsminde, Denmark native was 1-under-par through 11 holes on Thursday, but faltered down the stretch and settled for a 3-over 75. She stayed stronger on Friday, though, with just one bogey and three birdies, including back-to-back 1-under holes on Nos. 7 and 8. She is tied for eighth with a 75-70=145 (+1) total.
Freshman Chessey Thomas fired a 1-over 73 in front of friends and family that traveled from her hometown of Spokane, Wash. to watch her compete. She is tied for 13th with a 74-73=147 (+3) total.
The Lady Vols are chasing their third straight NCAA Championships appearance and 10th overall.
A win by Popson will be her fourth and set a new Lady Vol career victories record. It will also make her the third Lady Vol ever to win an NCAA Regional, joining Marci Turner (2006) and Malin Tveit (1997) and give her an unprecedented four consecutive first-place finishes.
|LADY VOL SCORES|
|1.||Erica Popson||68-69=137 (-7)|
|t8.||Sara Monberg||75-70=145 (+1)|
|t13.||Chessey Thomas||74-73=147 (+3)|
|t32.||Nathalie Mansson||75-75=150 (+6)|
|t73.||Kaitlyn Rohrback||76-81=157 (+13)|