Virginia Elena Carta (Golfweek photo)
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (Sept. 17, 2018) – In the three months since the top teams in women’s college golf have gone head-to-head, programs have lost players, added players, changed coaches (in some cases) and regrouped for a new season. This week’s Annika Intercollegiate offered the first real chance for the nation’s top programs to size each other up, but that ended abruptly mid-afternoon when play was suspended for lightning.
Not one team among the 12 in the field was able to complete the first round at Royal Golf Club, but several teams came within a few holes of finishing. With players scattered from Nos. 16-18, Duke managed to dive to 9 under on Monday and leads Alabama by one shot.
Three Blue Devils finished their rounds, one was on No. 18 and one was on No. 17. Starting on hole No. 10, Duke collectively went 3 over in its first seven holes. The Blue Devils started heating up when they reached the first par 5 of the day, No. 17. Four Duke golfers birdied the hole before Gina Kim and Virginia Elena Carta
each birdied No. 18 to help the Blue Devils make the turn at 2 under.
Duke continued its solid golf on the front nine as the Blue Devils notched six birdies on Nos. 2 and 3 to move to 9 under as a team, which led the field. The Blue Devils were 9 under on the par fives with two golfers still yet to finish their round on the 504-yard, par-5 ninth.
Carta and Ana Belac
are both 4 under for Duke (Carta was only through 17 holes) and share second place on the individual leaderboard. Belac is the clubhouse leader, but Alabama junior Kenzie Wright
– a transfer from SMU – is the pace-setter. She is 5 under through 15 holes.
USC, under new head coach Justin Silverstein (who has spent a collective six years with the Trojan golf programs), is 6 under and in third. The Trojans have won two of the first four events in Annika Invitational history. USC has a freshman, three sophomores and a junior in the lineup this week in Minnesota.
“I was really pleased with the way we struck the ball today,” Silverstein said. “These green complexes are extremely tough, but they’ll reward well-struck shots and it appears we did just that throughout the day."
Texas and Northwestern had just made the turn when play was called on Monday. Texas is 2 under in fourth and Northwestern is 1 under in fifth, respectively. UCLA, at even par and on the closing holes, is sixth.
The first round will resume Tuesday morning before the start of the second round
ABOUT THE ANNIKA Intercollegiate
54-holes of stroke-play with a field made up of
many of the top teams in women's college golf.
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