NEW ORLEANS – The Tulane trio of senior Janine Fellows, junior Ashley McKenney and sophomore Maribel Lopez Porras each fired subpar rounds and combined for 5-under effort and the 14th-ranked Green Wave opened the 2011 spring campaign with a solid first place showing today with a 4-under 284 total during the opening round of the UCF Challenge at the RedTail Golf Club in Sorrento, Fla.
Tulane, the highest ranked squad in the 17-team field, hit its stride on the first day of its spring campaign and at one point shot out to a five stroke lead with an 8-under effort midway through the round. Despite a couple of slip-ups finishing the back nine, the Green Wave holds a one-stroke lead over Coastal Carolina heading into Monday’s second round. Four of TU’s five players registered their second-best round of the 2010-11 campaign.
McKenney had the hot hand early for Tulane as she notched four birdies on her first seven holes and quickly fell to 4-under. Despite a bogey on the holes 8 and 14, McKenney played even-par golf on nine of her 11 remaining holes and is tied for sixth place.
Fellows’ start today was just the opposite of McKenney. Although she birdied the first hole, she registered bogeys on holes 7 and 8 and was 1-over at the turn. However, Fellows heated up on the back nine and produced three birdies to conclude her opening round and is tied with McKenney at 2-under and in sixth place.
Porras was steady and consistent with her play through the first 15 holes. She logged two birdies on the front nine and chalked up her third of the day at the 13th hole. But a pair of bogeys on holes 16 and 18 dropped her to 1-under for the round and she sits in 12th place heading into the second round.
Junior Meghan Chapman turned in and up-and-down day, but by the time she entered the club house she was 1-over on the day and sitting in 24th place. Chapman was even par through her first four holes, but a bogey on the fifth hole upended her efforts. She quickly rebounded with birdies on three of the next five holes and fought her way into contention with a 2-under score through 14 holes. However, three bogeys on her last four holes proved to be the difference.
Senior Linn Gustafsson got off to a rough start with a double bogey on her opening hole. She tied Fellows and McKenney with a team-best four birdies on the day, but she also was guilty of two bogeys, one on both the front and back nine, and another double bogey on the 13th hole. Gustafsson is 2-over and in 35th place heading into Monday’s second round.
Along with Tulane and Coastal Carolina, host UCF is third at 2-under, while Kentucky is fourth at 1-under and No. 37 Minnesota rounds out the top-5 at even par.
On the individual leaderboard, Kentucky’s Ashleigh Albrecht and Coastal Carolina’s Jessica Alexander are tied for first, each at 6-under, while Kennesaw State’s Ket Preamchuen is third at 4-under and UCF’s Valentina Fontaine and Texas’ Haley Stephens are tied for fourth, each at 3-under and just one stroke ahead of TU’s McKenney and Fellows.