CORVALLIS, Ore. – No.8 Washington endured a weather delay, finishing its first round after a hail storm to sit in fourth place at 2-over 290, five strokes off the lead at the Pac-12 Championships. No. 2 UCLA leads a tightly bunched leaderboard with six of the top-11 teams in the country within nine strokes of the lead.
The Bruins fired a round of 3-under 285 and lead No. 9 Stanford by one stroke. No. 11 Arizona is also under par at 1-under, while the Dawgs are one stroke better than No. 6 Arizona State who is in fifth at 3-over. The nation’s top-ranked team, USC, is currently sixth at 6-over.
“You can’t win it on the first day, but you can shoot yourselves out of it,” said head coach Mary Lou Mulflur. “It was just a steady day for us with nobody really going low. We struggled on the par fives, which is something we usually take advantage of.”
The Dawgs were among the late tee times and had their round delayed because of the hail that hit the Corvallis area. The weather did not seem to affect the Huskies, however, as they closed strong, making a total of just six bogeys as a team on the back nine. The last Husky on the course, SooBin Kim, birdied the 18th to pull Washington into fourth place alone and out of the tie with the Sun Devils.
“I was really proud of how we handled the delay,” said Mulflur. “90 minutes is a long time to sit there twiddling your thumbs, but the team never lost focus and came out and finished those final five or so holes well.”
Charlotte Thomas led Washington with a round of 1-under 71. She is tied for eighth place, four strokes back of Mariko Tumangan of Stanford who has the overall lead at 5-under. Thomas was the only Husky under par and in the top-10 as the Dawgs stayed in contention with a steady day as a team, rather than one player going low.
“We kept the damage down when someone did make a mistake,” said Mulflur in response to the Huskies not making anything worse than a bogey all day.
Kim moved back to even par on her round with the birdie on 18. She is tied for 11th with three others after the opening 72. Kim made three birdies and three bogeys on the day, including birdying both par fives on the front nine.
Also playing well and sitting in a tie for 15th was Kelli Bowers after a first round of 1-over 73. Bowers, who was the last Husky into the Pac-12 lineup after prevailing in a playoff in practice, showed she belonged with an important round for the Dawgs. She finished with seven-straight pars after three bogeys and two birdies over the first 11 holes.
The final scorer for Washington was Ying Luo with a round of 2-over 74. Luo made 16 pars on Friday and did not have a single birdie. Still, with just two bogeys she kept the Dawgs within just a few strokes of the overall lead.
Jennifer Yang was the final Husky player, finishing with a 3-over 75. Yang had been the Huskies most consistent player all spring and is still tied for 29th after a round of four bogeys and a birdie.
Washington will be back on the course Saturday, teeing off beginning at 9:40 a.m. off the first tee. The Dawgs will be playing with Arizona with tee times every eight minutes in reverse order of finish from the first round.