EUGENE, Ore. -- Oklahoma State opened the 2016 NCAA Championship with a 4-under 284, which is the program's second-lowest round ever at the national championship, and will enter Saturday's second round atop the leaderboard by two strokes.
The Cowgirls closed strong with a combined eight birdies in their final five holes on the day, and finished with 21 birdies overall – tied for the most in the field. OSU led the country with 505 total birdies on the year entering the NCAA Championships.
No. 8 OSU and No. 3 UCLA were the only squads to post sub-par rounds, and the Cowgirls lead the Bruins by two strokes after 18 holes.
Chih-Min Chen and Emma Broze both carded six birdies in the opening round, which is tied for the second most at the tournament so far. Chen, a freshman, is tied for third at 3-under after closing out with three birdies over her final five holes.
Broze posted birdies on four straight holes (4-7) and finds herself tied with her teammate Maddie McCrary for 29th place at even par 72.
Kenzie Neisen carded one of the tournament's four eagles on the day, and will enter Saturday's second round tied for 19th with a 1-under 71. The two-time defending Big 12 champion scored an eagle on No. 17, a 471-yard par 5.
Linnea Johansson had just a single bogey on the back nine, and at 1-over 73, is just five strokes behind the leaders; Haley Moore of Arizona and August Kim of Purdue.
The championship format consists of all 24 teams and 12 individuals completing 54 holes of stroke play, and then the top 15 teams along with the top nine individuals not on an advancing team will advance for one additional day of stroke play to determine the top eight teams for match play competition and the 72-hole stroke play individual champion. The top eight teams then compete in match play for the championship.