RALEIGH, N.C. -- Top-seeded South Carolina carded the only under-par round of the day to take the lead on the second day of the NCAA East Regional. Led by junior Sarah Schmelzel's 3-under 69, the Gamecocks went 2-under (286) on Friday to jump from sixth to first with a two-round score of 581 (+5). South Carolina will enter the final round at Lonnie Poole Golf Course with an eight-stroke lead.
Schmelzel couldn't do much wrong to start the day, going 5-under in her first seven holes. The stretch included an eagle on the par-five No. 7. She made the turn at 4-under and again got to 5-under on the back nine, but posted a double bogey on No. 16. She finished the day at 3-under and jumped into a tie for third place with a 36-hole score of 143 (-1).
Junior Mary Fran Hillow had a strong day as well, carding a score of 71 (-1). Hillow holed three birdies on the back nine and owns a two-round total of 147 (+3) to climb 34 places to tie for 14th. Hillow is one of three Gamecocks in the top 15 after two rounds of play.
Both senior Justine Dreher and sophomore Katelyn Dambaugh turned in rounds of 73 (+1). Dreher is even for the tournament (144) and tied for fifth. Dambaugh rebounded from a difficult day yesterday with a solid second round. Her two-round total of 151 (+7) is T37th entering the final round.
In the team race, Alabama (+13) and LSU (+16) are behind South Carolina (+5). Surging Coastal Carolina (+17) and Northwestern (+18) round out the top five.
LSU's Madeline Sagstrom holds the individual lead at 6-under. Alabama's Emma Talley is two strokes back at 4-under. Schmelzel and Coastal Carolina's Lena Schaeffner are tied for third at 1-under while Dreher is tied with three others for fifth at even par.