Tulane starts strong at C-USA tourney
Green Wave place three players in top 10 after opening round
NEW ORLEANS, La. -- The weather was less than perfect and the winds were anything but cooperative on Monday, but Tulane made the most of the conditions and combined for a 13-over 301 total and sits in second place following the opening round of the Conference USA Championships at the Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club.
Despite the adverse conditions, Tulane enters Tuesday's second round just two strokes behind first-place Tulsa.
Three Tulane players sit among the top 10 players -- the most by any one team in the field -- including Maribel Lopez Porras in third place, Ashley McKenney in fourth place and Gemma Dryburgh in seventh place.
"With the way the golf course was playing and with the greens as fast as they are, I thought a good score would be 10-over and we finished 13-over for the round," Tulane head coach Andrew Pratt said. "I thought it was a solid round for us even though we let a few shots slip away coming down the stretch. I like the position we are in and I believe this championship will come down to which teams wants it the most.
"These greens are extremely fast and probably the fastest we have played on all year. And that's saying something because we have played what I thought were very fast greens the past two tournaments. So, it is very important for us to pay attention to where we are trying to land the ball on the green and that's what we talked about in our meetings. It's very important for us to make adjustments to our game plan while we're on the course."
Porras was 2-over on the heading into the 17th hole, but she knocked in her lone birdie of the day to drop to 1-over for the round. She will enter the second round just three strokes off the lead.
McKenney got off to a rough start with two bogeys on her first three holes, but she recovered and overcame two more bogeys with a pair of birdies to play even the rest of the way. She will begin the second round just four strokes out of first place.
Like McKenney, Dryburgh was also tripped up coming out of the gate with four bogeys on her first nine holes, but the precocious rookie regrouped and played even-par golf with the exception of her lone birdie on the 15th hole. She is one stroke behind McKenney and five strokes off the leader.
Samantha Troyanovich was among Tulane's leaders at 1-over heading into the 14th hole, but an errant shot out of bounds forced her to eventually settle for an eight at the par-4 hole, which sent her to 5-over on the day. She then bogeyed holes No. 16 and 18 and went to the clubhouse in 24th place at 7-over.
Stephanie Wagstaff wasn't able to find her groove during the opening round and carded an 8-over 80 and sits in 29th place.
Along with Tulsa and Tulane, UCF is five strokes behind the Wave in third place, while Memphis and SMU sit in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
UAB's Caitlin Watts fired a 2-under 70 for the best individual score of the day and sits atop the leaderboard. Tulsa's Marita Engzelius is second at 1-under and joined Watts as the only two players to shoot under par on Monday.