Oct. 12, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Firing a 4-over par 292 in the opening round of the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championships, the Tennessee women's golf team is in a tie for third.
The Lady Vols had a front-nine card of 1-over par 145 and rounded out the back nine shooting 3-over par 147.
"It was good," head coach Judi Pavon said. "You never know any time you come out at home the first day if they're going to have some jitters. They all want to play so well but I thought they played well. We didn't do anything spectacular, but didn't really make any big mistakes either. We kept ourselves in it. We're close to the lead, so at least we'll be in a good position not too many shots out."
Senior Erica Popson led the Big Orange carding a 2-under par 70 to sit in a tie for second individually.
"Pretty pleased with the overall result especially coming off a really bad round at Georgia last week," said Popson. "I really wanted to go out and play well today and I feel like I could've made a couple birdies coming in but I also made some really good up and downs on the back nine for pars so that evened it out. I'm happy with the way I played."
"Erica played really well today," said Pavon. "She was a little shaky after the last tournament, the last round she didn't play well so she really needed to have a good solid day today to get her confidence up."
Senior Sara Monberg shot 1-over par 73, sitting in a tie for 12th, while sophomore AJ Newell followed with 2-over par 74 in a tie for 22nd Chessey Thomas rounded out UT's scores at 3-over par 75. Freshman Ashlee Pickerell wrapped up the first round at 12-over par 84.
"Sara and AJ came in with nice rounds today," said Pavon. "Both hung in on the back nine, they could've let a few slip away but they didn't. They hung in. Chessey really hit the ball well. She didn't make many putts out there but she's hitting ball great and if she gets some puts to drop, she'll be good tomorrow."
Penn State and Texas A&M lead the field after the first round shooting 3-over par 291. UTSA is in a tie with Tennessee for third at 4-over, while Purdue sits in fifth at 5-over 293.
In the individual scoreboard, Northwestern's Hana Lee fired a 3-under par 69 in the first round to pace the competition. Texas A&M's Sarah Beth Davis and Furman's Laura Wearn are in a tie for second with Popson at 2-under 70. Ellen Ceresko (Penn State), Mary Michael Maggio (Texas A&M) and Paula Reto (Purdue) are tied up in fifth at 1-under par 71, while Ally McDonald (Mississippi State), Jessica Negron (Florida State), Taylor Nevin (UTSA) and Paola Valerio (UTSA) are tied for 10th at even par.
Second round action begins at 9:00 a.m. Saturday with the Lady Vols teeing off at 10:40 a.m.