ANGOLA, Ind. -- Seeded 11th in the 19-team field at the 2012 NCAA championship, Williams posted a first round score of 307 to finish in first place after the first day of competition.

The Ephs lead Methodist by three shots. The Monarchs have won 24 of the 26 NCAA Division III titles and have won the last 14 in a row.

Williams' sophomore Georgi Salant opened the first day of the four-day NCAA tournament with an even par round of 72 to claim medalist honors for the day. Salant has a one-shot lead over Rose Kelly of Illinois Wesleyan and Kelly Sweeney of Whitman.

Three Ephs shot 5 over or better on the day and they are among the top 10 individuals currently.

2012 NCAA championship scores
POSITION SCHOOL SCORE
1 Williams 307
2 Methodist 310
T3 DePauw 314
T3 St. Olaf 314
5 Wisconsin-Eau Claire 315
Scores: Team | Individual

Williams teed off on the 10th tee and they got right to work. Salant played the back nine of The Zollner Golf Course on the campus of Trine in one over, carding a 37. Three bogeys in the first nine holes were offset by two birdies. Salant's back nine found her offsetting her lone bogey with two birdies, one on the par 3 15th (6th hole) and one on the par 4th 9th hole (18th hole).

"Georgi is playing much more relaxed now that she is playing shot to shot and not being so concerned about her score," commented Eph head coach Erika DeSanty.

Junior Victoria Student matched Salant's four birdies on the day, but she struggled in her first nine, coming in 4 over par. On the back Student played even par golf by matching her three bogeys with three of her four birdies. Particularly impressive was Student's response to back-to-back bogeys on her 14th and 15th holes. She finished the last three holes of her round at two under when she birdied the par 5 16th (7th hole) and the par 4 17th (8th hole) and then notched a par on the 18th (9th hole).

"This year Victoria has played under par on the par fives and today she hit her tee shot on the 5th (14th hole) out of bounds, but she stayed with it and got a bogey," stated DeSanty.

Student's birdie on the next par 5, the 7th hole (16th hole) was followed by a impressive birdie on the 8th hole (her 17th). "Her tee shot left her 115 yards out with a tricky side hill lie," noted DeSanty. "Victoria stuck it up so close she just had to tap it in. Then she scrambled a little for a par on her last hole. She had to come out between two trees on her second shot and with an up and down got a par."

Student's four over par 76 places her in a tie for sixth place.

Freshman Shelby Shote showed the composure of a veteran as she finished with a 77 and was five over par for the day. Shote had three double-bogeys on the day, but she also collected three birdies. From holes 8 through 11 Shote recorded four bogeys and a double bogey.  Credit Shote though for re-gaining her touch and playing the last six holes of her first NCAA tournament at two under to craft her 77.

Shote's 77 puts her in a tie for 10th place.

DeSanty pointed out that, "Shelby settled down once she started focusing on hitting the fairways and the greens and not concentrating on her score. That was a very good first round for any player in the NCAA Tournament, but especially good for a freshman."

Junior Becky Miller was the fourth scoring Eph on the day with a round of 82. Miller toured the front nine in just three over, but struggled on the back nine and shot a 7 over 43.

Sophomore Emily Wickstrom carded an 86 on the day. Wickstrom, like Student, recorded 10 pars, but could not offset her bogeys and double bogeys with any birdies.

"We put ourselves in a good position today," said DeSanty. "Our team played with a good deal of confidence after we played as a group yesterday in a practice round. Yesterday they all played solidly and they all felt good about scoring on this course."

"We're prepared for this level of play because of the competition we have every day within our team," DeSanty concluded.

The team score of 307 is a team best for the Ephs in NCAA team play and their best round this season.