Silje Ohma (Baylor Athletics photo)
In a field that features four of the top-10 teams in the nation, two former U.S. Women's Amateur champions and the last two NCAA individual title holders, it was a freshman from Bergen, Norway who carried the Baylor Bears to the first-round lead at the Therese Hession Regional Challenge on Sunday at the Palos Verdes (Calif.) Country Club.
Behind freshman Silje Ohma's 5-under round of 66, the 11th-ranked Bears were the only team who finished in red figures on Sunday with a 2-under team score of 282, which was good for a two-shot lead over three teams at days end, including top-ranked Stanford.
Ohma, who closed the fall brimming with confidence after notching a third-place finish at the Collegiate Invitational, had seven birdies on her card, including two to finish, for a round of 66. The freshman enjoys a three-stroke lead over four golfers, including the top-ranked female amateur in the world, Stanford sophomore Rose Zhang.
Starting her round on the 10th hole, Ohma was level after her first four holes before she reeled off three consecutive birdies. After dropping a shot at the turn, she made three more birdies on her second nine, including a pair on her last two holes, to polish off a 5-under round of 66.
"We played in some challenging conditions, to say the least," said Baylor head coach Jay Goble. "It was probably only 52 degrees, with about a 20-mile-per-hour wind in the afternoon, so for us to finish the way we did and for Silje to finish the way she did was off the charts. We played the second nine first, which is the harder nine, so the way we were able to grind it out there to the end was impressive."
Baylor and Ohma have numerous pursuers breathing down their necks, including the top-ranked Cardinal and No. 6 San Jose State, who are tied with Ohio State for second place at 2-over 286. Fourth-ranked Oregon is six off the pace at 4-over 286.
Zhang, who is searching for her fourth individual title of the season, had six birdies and three bogeys on her round to finish at 3-under 68. She's joined in second place by Ohio State's Kary Hollenbaugh, Oregon's Cindy Chen and SMU's Ellie Szeryk.
Eleven other golfers are within five strokes of the lead heading into second-round action on Monday.
ABOUT THE Northrop Grumman Challenge
Women's college tournament started in 1996 as a
to kick off the Spring season. Team (best four scores
out of five players) and individual competitions.
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