STILLWATER, Okla. -- Alabama shot 7-over 295 in the opening round of the NCAA Central Regional Championship to earn a share of the lead at the par-72, 6200-yard Karsten Creek Golf Club.The third-seeded Crimson Tide are tied with California at 7-over par with Florida and Kent State third at 8-over 296 and host Oklahoma State fifth at 10-over 298. No. 1-seed UCLA shot 11-over 299 and is tied for fifth place with Minnesota while second-seeded Arkansas is tied for 16th at 21-over 309.
"Regardless of the score, I was really happy with how we managed the wind and managed the golf course," Alabama head coach Mic Potter said. "For the most part, when we missed greens, we put it in places where you could get it up and down. We left ourselves manageable putts, which is the key to this golf course. You have to manage your game and we did that very well."
Sophomore Emma Talley carded her lowest round of the year with a 4-under 68 but is three shots out of the lead after Kent State's Wad Phaewchimplee shot 65. Talley, a Princeton, Ky., native carded five birdies on her round with one bogey. Talley carded a 3-under 33 on the front with birdies on the third, fourth and eight holes. She then made birdie on the 12th only to give a shot back on the 15th. She closed with birdie on the par-5 18th hole.
"A 68 out here, if there is wind or not, is pretty good," Potter said. "Emma is driving the ball well again, and she knows where it is going off the tee. She is able to put herself in position to attack hole locations. It is really good to have her back. She is really important to our success and seems to be starting to play well at the right time."
Senior Stephanie Meadow also finds herself just outside the top 10 after the first 18 holes of the NCAA Central Regional Championship. A native of Jordanstown, Northern Ireland, Meadow shot 1-over 73, and is in a six-way tie for 11th.
Redshirt freshman Cammie Gray made her return to the lineup with a 76 and is tied for 41st while true freshman Mia Landegren was the Tide's fourth score at 6-over 78, tied for 68th. Janie Jackson's 81 was dropped from Alabama's team total.
The Crimson Tide will play with California and Florida in Friday's second round at Karsten Creek. The top-eight finishers at the NCAA Central Regional will advance to the NCAA Championships at Tulsa Country Club on May 20-23 in Tulsa, Okla., and join the teams that have advanced from the NCAA East and West Regionals.