Lady Tigers Golf Tied for Third at SEC's

by Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
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Lady Tigers Golf Tied for Third at SEC's

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – For much of the 2009-10 women’s golf season, the first round has been a trouble spot for the 17th-ranked LSU team as they tried to get tournament started on the right foot.

It was putting LSU in the position of following the old cliché of golf that a tournament can’t be won in the first round, but you can be put so far out of position in the first round that there is little chance to win it.

Well this time the Lady Tigers got the start they were looking for and stand at even par 284 in a tie for third after the first round of the Southeastern Conference Women’s Golf Championship at the NorthRiver Yacht Club Friday. This year, the Lady Tigers are in contention.

The Lady Tigers are just four shots off the pace set by 15th-ranked Georgia, who was paired with LSU in the first round, and late-charging No. 35 Arkansas who played in the final wave of the first round. Both teams shot four-under par 280 on the par 71 course. No. 20 Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and LSU tied for third and Vandy will play with Georgia and Arkansas in the final wave Saturday based on the lower fifth-player score.

The Tigers will be with unranked Ole Miss and host school Alabama, ranked sixth in the country, which shot three-over 287. The top eight teams are within nine shots of each other after the first round including defending champion and third-ranked Auburn at five-over 289.

“I feel good with the round overall,” said LSU Coach Karen Bahnsen. “Did we give away a couple of shots at the end? Yes. But the positives of the round far outweigh that. I saw a lot of great shots. I’m pleased with where we are. The girls like where we are. We are right in the hunt where we want to be. It’s a three-day tournament. You don’t win the tournament on the first round and so we feel very positive about where we are. We feel very positive about how we are striking the ball and putting the ball. So eliminate a mistake here or there and I feel we can continue to go low.”

It was also a day to look at the opportunities that LSU had in the early part of the round that the players took advantage of.

Junior Amalie Valle posted birdies on the par 3 third and sixth holes and added a birdie on the par four fourth to shoot three-under 33 on the front side, while Megan McChrystal after posting bogeys on the first two holes, got four birdies on the rest of the side to turn in 34. Jacqueline Hedwall had two each of bogeys and birdies to turn even and sophomore Tessa Teachman was right in the thick of things with an even par round of 36.

LSU turned at five-under and was tied with Georgia and the two shared the lead through the first 15 holes. Teachman had things going with birdies on 11, the drivable par 4 13th and the 14th hole to get to three under and a share of the individual lead. All this good play while battling a severe allergy attack brought on by the pollen in the area.

Teachman, who got a great break on 16 when her tee shot in the woods landed in casual water and she was given a no penalty drop that gave her much better vision and allowed her to put her approach on the edge of the green and get up and down for par, got an equally as bad a break on the final hole.

Her second shot was long of the green and ended up on the side hill of the berm behind the 18th green. Her chip shot back spun hard off the fringe and rolled off the green, which resulted in double bogey and a round of one-under 70.

Valle also would give two shots back late in her round and finished in the group at 70, just two shots off the lead of South Carolina’s Benedicte Toumpsin who posted a three-under 68. Teachman and Valle are tied for seventh place and Megan McChrystal and Jacqueline Hedwall, who finished with a one-over 72 are tied for 20th.

In the past six tournaments, LSU has shot 306 or 307 in the opening round and only two rounds below 299. So there was a very positive vibe throughout the team despite the couple of stumbles coming home.

“The girls are in a good place mentally and are hitting the ball well,” said Bahnsen, whose Lady Tigers won the 1992 championship. “They worked really hard and they are getting there. This is going to make us stronger. As a team, it was a great effort and we put ourselves in a position to compete for a championship. It was a positive start.”

Round two begins Saturday at 8:30 a.m. and live story updates from the course will be available on Facebook at LSU Women’s Golf and on Twitter @lsuwomensgolf. Live scoring for the event can be found at LSUsports.net through Golfstat.com.

SEC Women’s Golf Championship
Tuscaloosa, Ala.
First round Team Results (Par 71-284)
1. Arkansas 280 -4; 1. Georgia 280 -4; 3. Vanderbilt 284 E; 3. Ole Miss 284 E; 3. LSU 284 E; 6. Alabama 287 +3; 7. South Carolina 289 +5; 7. Auburn 289 +5; 9. Florida 298 +14; 9. Tennessee 298 +14; 11. Kentucky 302 +18; 12. Mississippi State 309 +25.

Individual Top 5 (Par 71)
1. Benedicte Toumpsin, South Carolina, 68 -3; 2. Emile Burger, Georgia, 69 -2; 2. Brooke Goodwin, Vandy, 69 -2; 2. Milena Savich, Georgia, 69 -2; Kelli Shean, 69 -2; 2. Marta Silva Zamora, 69 -2.

LSU Scores
T7. Amalie Valle 70 -1
T7. Tessa Teachman 70 -1
T20. Jacqueline Hedwall 72 +1
T20. Megan McChrystal 72 +1
T58. Mary Michael Maggio 82 +11