HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (March 3, 2017) -- The Darius Rucker Intercollegiate is only in its sixth year of existence, however Alabama has won the event three-times including last year and with one round in the books this year they are out in front once more.
On day one at the Long Cove Club the Crimson Tide, ranked fifth by Golfstat, turned in a 2-under first day and they lead second place Duke by four-strokes. No. 18 Duke, 2-over, is the only other team to win the event claiming titles in 2014 and 2015.
Alabama presently has three players, including two tied for the lead, inside the top-10 of the standings. Defending individual winner Cheyenne Knight and Kristen Gillman are part of a four-way tie for the first at 3-under while sophomore Lauren Stephenson posted an even-par round that left her in a ninth place share.
Knight, a sophomore, played a flawless round of golf with birdies coming on the 5th, 15th and 18th holes.
For Gillman it was a little bit more of an adventuresome day as she tallied five birdies and two bogeys. Even through four holes, Gillman birdied four-times between Nos. 5-9.
Joining Knight and Gillman for the individual lead are Sophia Zeeb of Arizona State and Gurbani Singh of Duke.
For Zeeb the day started with a 1st hole bogey but she was able to rebound nicely throughout the rest of the round with five birdies and just one additional bogey. The junior birdied holes 8-10 in succession and also the closing hole.
Singh, a junior, didn't card a birdie during her first round. Her birdies feel on Nos. 8, 9 and 14.
Georgia's Rinko Mitsunaga rounds out the individual top-5 and at 2-under she is in fifth place. Three others are 1-under and tied for sixth.
World Amateur Golf Ranked No. 1 Leona Maguire of Duke is tied for 15th after a 1-over 72.
No. 10 Arizona State (+4) is third in the team standings, host No. 14 South Carolina (+5) is fourth and No. 19 Baylor (+7) is fifth.