BATON ROUGE, La. -- The 13th-ranked University of Washington got off to a great start at the 2016 NCAA Baton Rouge Regionals as it currently leads the 18-team field after firing a course-record 2-under 286 over the first 18 holes. It is the best round by a women’s collegiate team at the University Club since the course was renovated in 2010. The Huskies lead the field by four strokes and recorded 18 birdies over the course of the day.
“That was a really solid start for us today and I thought everyone came out and played very tough,” said head coach Mary Lou Mulflur. “We just grinded it out and we know there is a lot of golf left, but that was a really fun round to watch. I thought our self-awareness today was about as good as it has been all season and everyone was very dialed in and focused.”
Washington’s Ying Luo is tied for the individual lead after carding a 3-under 69 for her second-straight tournament with a sub-70 score in the first round. Luo went through the front nine with no blemishes knocking in birdies on holes two, five and eight. After bogeys on 10 and 11, she responded with back-to-back birdies on the par-4 12th and the par-3 13th. She shares the individual lead with Houston’s Leonie Harm.
“Ying was her usual steady self and she did a great job of not letting anything derail her focus,” added Mulflur. “She came out firing and we’re excited to see her try and continue that momentum heading into tomorrow.”
Freshman Julianne Alvarez also found herself in the top three as she is one stroke off the lead with her 2-under 70, which is tied for third. The New Zealand native’s round was her best since the Peg Barnard Invitational in early February and featured four birdies over the final 13 holes.
“Julianne put in a lot of extra work on her putting and just her routine when she gets up there to put and you could see that work pay off today,” said Mulflur. “She putted like a rock star and was very dialed in.”
Senior Charlotte Thomas, fresh off of her top-five showing at the Pac-12 Championships carded a 1-over 73 and sits tied for 15th. The UW career round record-holder knocked in birdies on holes eight, 13 and 14 and will look to move up on Friday.
After a little bit of a rocky start, including a quadruple bogey on hole 12, freshman Wenyung Keh went 2-under over the final six holes to finish at 2-over 74 in a tie for 25th. Keh also posted birdies on holes nine and 10.
“I was really proud of how Wenyung responded to her start to the round which showed in her finish over the final six holes,” said Mulflur. “Her birdie on the par-4 18th was extremely impressive as she landed in a bunker but was still able to knock the ball in for the birdie.”