Sara Monberg tied her career-best on Friday
Oct. 8, 2010
By Zachary Stipe, Media Relations Assistant
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Dazzling sub-par performances from Erica Popson, Nathalie Mansson and Sara Monberg powered the University of Tennessee Lady Vol golf team to an 11-shot lead after round one of the 2010 Mercedes-Benz Women's Collegiate Championships on Friday at Holston Hills Country Club.
Led by Popson's career-best-tying 5-under 67, the Orange and White carded a tournament-record 8-under 280 on the par-72, 6,302-yard course. That score also ties for the lowest round ever totaled by Tennessee.
UT put itself in great position to become the third team to ever win back-to-back Mercedes-Benz titles in the 14-year history of the competition by building a staggering lead over SEC rivals Ole Miss (291) and Arkansas (291), who are tied for second.
The Lady Vols, who rode a 13-stroke day-one lead to the Mercedes-Benz crown a year ago, will tee off with the Razorbacks and Rebels from No. 1 at 10:39 a.m. on Saturday.
"The team played awesome today," Lady Vol head coach Judi Pavon said. "You never know what to expect when playing at home and we've never competed at Holston Hills before. Erica got off to a really good start and Nathalie had a nice run on holes seven through nine. The other players were sturdy. There were plenty of birdies out there so they took advantage."
Popson and Mansson Talk Eagles
Conditions were near-perfect on Friday with temperatures in the 70s and little wind or humidity.
Popson got the day rolling for the Lady Vols with an impressive eagle on the 511-yard, par-5 No. 5. She drove her tee shot over a bunker and to the right before smashing a three-wood over 200 yards to the front of the green. She drilled a 30-foot putt from right to left for her second eagle of the season.
A few minutes later, Mansson one-upped her teammate by nearly converting a double-eagle on the 464-yard, par-5 No. 7. The defending champion at the tournament crushed a drive before hitting an approach shot right at the pin. The ball nearly went in the hole, but bounced and rolled a few feet from the pin, where Mansson easily tapped in for eagle. She followed with back-to-back birdies, and made the turn 3-under-par.
Popson finished the day with five birdies to go along with her eagle to hold a two-shot lead over Mansson and Arkansas' Kelli Shean, who eached fired 69s.
Monberg, who had five birdies of her own, is tied for fourth after her tying her career low round (70).
Rounding out the scores for Tennessee was freshman Chessey Thomas. She fired a 2-over 74 and is tied for 24th.
UT's blistering round of 280 tied the mark set by the squad in 2006 at the final day of the Dr. Donnis Thompson in 2006. The score broke the previous Mercedes-Benz record of 281 set by LSU on the final day of the 2008 event.
Senior Lauren Spurlock (75) was the fifth player in the lineup for Tennessee, while freshman Kaitlyn Rohrback, playing as an individual, fired 74 in her Lady Vol debut, sophomore Leigh Henderson carded a 77 and senior Rebecca Watson nabbed an 82.
Each team will wear pink for Saturday's second round as part of a "Pink Out" promotion.
Tennessee is partnering with the Knoxville affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month at this weekend's tournament Additionally, donations to the foundation will be encouraged through bins or by pledging an amount for every birdie the Lady Vols record at the competition for a "Birdies for Breast Cancer" effort at the Knoxville affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure web site: komenknoxville.org.
|LADY VOL SCORES|
|1.||Erica Popson||67 (-5)|
|t2.||Nathalie Mansson||69 (-3)|
|t4.||Sara Monberg||70 (-2)|
|t24.||Chessey Thomas||74 (+2)|
|t33.||Lauren Spurlock||75 (+3)|
|t24.||Kaitlyn Rohrback *||74 (+2)|
|t48.||Leigh Henderson *||77 (+5)|
|t76.||Rebecca Watson *||82 (+10)|
|*Competing as individual.|
|! Mercedes-Benz record, Lady Vol record.|