Arizona Continues to Hold Lead at NCAA Women's Golf Tourney
May 22, 2002
AUBURN, Wash. - Despite turning in a team score of 8-over 296, for a two-day total of 581, Arizona continues to lead the field at the NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championships at Washington National Golf Club. The Wildcats built a large nine-stroke lead after the opening round, but saw that drop to just six strokes midway through the 72-hole tournament.
Duke, which trailed Arizona after Tuesday's opening round, shot 5-over 293 to pull within six strokes at 587. Georgia and Oklahoma are tied for third at 588. The Sooners turned in a season-best 1-over-par round of 289, led by the course-record 67 fired by sophomore Lisa Meldrum. Georgia's Summer Sirmons shot 4-under 68 to pace the Bulldogs.
Sirmons made an estimated 30-foot putt up a slope on the 18th hole to tie Duke's Virada Nirapathpongporn for the individual lead. Both players stand at 7-under 137. Sirmons' 4-under 68 was her third sub-70 score in her last four rounds, including matching 69s yesterday and at the NCAA East Regional. Sirmons holed out a 7-iron from 143 yards on the 14th hole for an eagle, as late afternoon rain showers soaked the field for about a 30-minute period.
Arizona's Lorena Ochoa, the nation's top-ranked golfer and the pre-tournament favorite, was 3-under 69 on Wednesday to stand third overall at 140, three strokes behind the leaders.
Host Washington moved into a tie for 13th place with a second-round score of 297. The Huskies were just 1-over when they made the turn, but lost their momentum when the rains hit the course. Washington was led by freshman Paige Mackenzie, who notched four birdies en route to a 2-under 70. Mackenzie is tied for 17th overall at 2-over 146.
"I played well yesterday, so I was confident going into today, hoping that a few more putts would drop, and they did," said Mackenzie. "We're the comeback team, so I knew that if we just came in with another solid day and with a little better score, that we would continue to move up."
Washington's other scores included a 2-over 74 by Michelle Grafos, a 4-over 76 by Louise Friberg, a 77 by Kelli Kamimura and an 80 by Lindsay Morgan. Grafos is tied for 29th overall at 4-over par, while Morgan stands in a tie for 76th at 9-over. Friberg is tied for 94th at 11-ov\er and Kamimura is tied for 117th at 16-over.
"We had it going at one point, we just really let it get away from us," said Huskies' head coach Mary Lou Mulflur. "It's frustrating, and I know they're frustrated, too. Our team goal was to win, but when you put yourself 18 shots out of the lead with just two days to go ... we'll have to see how things shake out. I think we're better than a top-10 team."
The third round of the tournament will begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday. The top 12 teams will be grouped together in the afternoon session that begins at 12:20 p.m.