May 18, 2011
BRYAN, Texas - Led by sophomore Sara Monberg's 1-over 73, the ninth-ranked Tennessee Lady Vol golf team is in 10th-place after the first round of competition on Wednesday at the 2011 NCAA Golf Championships.
The Big Orange tallied an 11-over 299 team total and is just 10 shots out of first-place and five shots out of fifth in a bunched up leaderboard, as no teams broke away from the pack on an especially windy afternoon at the Traditions Club Golf Course.
"We had a decent day," Lady Vol head coach Judi Pavon said. "We didn't have any great scores - that's what we were missing. The team hung in there, though. Conditions were tough and it can be nerve-racking waiting to play in the afternoon. We're right where we want to be and we hope to move up tomorrow. Our goal is to have all afternoon tee times the final two days and be in the top two groups."
The Lady Vols will tee off of No. 10 at 8:55 a.m. CT on Thursday in a group with No. 7 LSU and No. 15 North Carolina. Live scoring is being provided by NCAA.com, while @LadyVol_Golfwill have live updates via Twitter.
No. 2 UCLA holds a two-shot lead after carding a 289 on Day 1. No. 5 Virginia is in second (291), while No. 4 Purdue and the Tigers are tied for third (292). UNC is tied for 16th (305).
Individually, Virginia's Brittany Altomare fired a 3-under 69 and holds a one-stroke lead in the medalist race.
Sara Monberg Talks About the NCAA Championships
Monberg paced UT with her 1-over performance. The Juelsminde, Denmark, native made par on her first four holes before bogeying the par-5 fifth hole. She uncharacteristically bogeyed another par-5, No. 10, but stayed focused, finally conquering a par-5 on No. 18 by making an eight-foot birdie putt.
"I knew I had to make a birdie on the last hole," Monberg said. "I made a goal with (Head Coach Judi Pavon) to reach that score so it was great to get that done at the end. My round was pretty good. I made two bogeys on two par-5s. I struggled a little bit, but I hit some good shots. I fought to get back. It was tough out there."
Monberg also made a birdie on No. 7, a 147-yard par-3. Usually Tennessee's No. 3 player, she is tied for 23rd.
"Sara is a very good ball striker," Pavon said. "She has played well for us all season. She stuck to her gameplan and made good decisions out there. She had a great round today."
Junior Nathalie Mansson also drilled a short putt for birdie on No. 18 to wrap up her day with a 3-over 75. The Stockholm, Sweden, native was able to shake off a pair of double bogeys on the front nine to finish strong with two birdies over her final three holes. She is tied for 42nd with freshman Kaitlyn Rohrback, who matched her teammate with a 75 in her NCAA Championships debut.
Rounding out the scorers for the Lady Vols was NCAA West Regional and SEC Champion sophomore Erica Popson. Coming into the tournament with four straight first-place finishes, the Davenport, Fla., native had a rare off day, tallying just one birdie en route to a 76. She is tied for 57th.
Freshman Chessey Thomas, the fifth player in Tennessee's lineup, carded an 8-over 80. She is tied for 104th.
In its 10th NCAA Championships appearance all-time, Tennessee is seeking to surpass its best finish ever at the national tournament, a fifth-place performance in 2000.
|LADY VOL SCORES|
|t23.||Sara Monberg||73 (+1)|
|t42.||Nathalie Mansson||75 (+3)|
|t42.||Kaitlyn Rohrback||75 (+3)|
|t57.||Erica Popson||76 (+4)|
|t104.||Chessey Thomas||80 (+8)|