PALOS VERDES, Calif. – No. 4 Washington got off to a solid start at the Northrop Grumman Challenge, finishing the opening round at 8-over 282 in a tie for fifth. Playing against a loaded field that includes seven top-10 teams, the Dawgs are in good position just six shots off the lead.
Unranked Baylor is the surprising first-round leader, two strokes better than top-ranked USC and four better than No. 2 UCLA and No. 3 Duke. The fourth-ranked Huskies sit in a three-way tie for fifth with No. 5 Oklahoma and No. 13 Arizona.
“We had a very solid day today overall,” said head coach Mary Lou Mulflur. “Conditions were pretty good considering the wind can be troublesome here. We were very good on the first nine, playing it just 1-over, but we let it get away from us early on our second nine. I am proud of how we rallied to save some shots at the finish. A couple of big numbers on some holes was essentially the difference from being even or 1-over to the 8-over we ended up.”
Washington was led by Jennifer Yang who shot a round of even-par 71. The Husky junior had it as low as 3-under, before making three bogeys over her final six holes. Still, Yang finds herself in a tie for sixth, just four strokes back of opening-round leader, Annie Park of USC.
Two strokes back of Yang is Ying Luo in a tie for 24th after a round of 2-over 73. Luo birdied two of her last three holes, playing her second nine in even par.
Also closing well was Charlotte Thomas who is in tie for 28th with SooBin Kim and nine others after firing a round of 3-over 74. Thomas began the back nine with a bogey and a double-bogey, before two birdies got her round back to 3-over. Kim was 2-under on her first nine, but a uncharacteristic triple-bogey on the sixth hole hurt her chances to go low.
“We had some very uncharacteristic hiccups in our rounds,” said Mulflur. “I'm confident that if we clean those up we can put ourselves in a good position after the second round. I am really happy of the fight they showed today. You have to be very patient on this golf course or it will eat you up. Charlotte and Ying especially as they were able to make a couple birdies coming in."
The final Husky golfer was Kelli Bowers who tied for 41st at 5-over. Bowers made two birdies, but had a couple of double-bogeys at the difficult Palos Verdes course.
Washington will be back on the course on Monday with their first tee times beginning at 9:15 a.m. The Dawgs will tee off the first hole after beginning on the 10th in round one.