Both senior Madelene Sagstrom and junior Caroline Nistrup posted under par rounds to pace the second-seeded LSU Lady Tigers to the first-round lead in the NCAA Raleigh Regional women’s golf tournament Thursday at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course at NC State.

LSU, ranked seventh in both the Golfweek and Golfstat Performance charts, was able to post even par on the par 72 layout and has a two-shot lead in the 54-hole event that will qualify six teams to the NCAA Championships in Bradenton, Florida, May 22-27.

Sagstrom had an amazing start to her round of four-under 68 handling the opening three holes that feature two par 5s and a par 3 with back-to-back birdies. She then birdied the eighth and ninth holes to finish the front nine at 5-under par 31. She gave one of the strokes back on the final nine holes and finished with a 4-under 68, alone in first after 18 holes.

Sagstrom, the SEC Golfer of the Year, did nothing to hurt her attempt to be the first LSU women’s golfer to post under 72 strokes per round for the season and has posted three consecutive under par rounds dating back to the second day of the SEC Championship.

Nistrup, who is tied for fifth, posted a 1-under 71 with an even par front nine of two birdies and two bogeys and all pars on the final nine with the exception of a birdie on the three 17th.

The pair paced LSU to an even par round of 288, two shots clear of host NC State at 2-over 290 and four clear of Ohio State at 4-over 292. Campbell (293), Alabama (294) and South Carolina (295) round out the teams that presently hold the precious six qualifying spots. UCF is at 296 in seventh.

“The team did a fantastic job,” LSU Coach Karen Bahnsen said. “We are in a good place mentally. We only worry about us. We don’t worry about what’s happening to other players, what other teams are scoring. It’s just a case of maintaining a good attitude. It was windy at the start of the round and really got windy on the back nine. But we kept our focus and I am really proud of them.”

LSU also counted a 74 from Elise Bradley, tied for 21, with Nadine Dreher getting a big counting fourth score for LSU at 3-over 75.

LSU’s five players tied for best aggregate on the par 3 holes (of which there are five) at even par. The Lady Tigers tied with Mississippi State and UCF for most birdies on the round at 14.

Sagstrom and Nistrup are tied with several others after playing the par 3 holes in -2. Sagstrom tallied -1 on the par 4s and -1 on the par 5s.