Beverly Vatananugulkit watches a putt during Sunday's practice round. She took the first-round lead on Sunday.
April 13, 2014
Live Scoring and Results | Big West Women's Golf Championship page
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - UC Davis' quest for a fifth straight Big West championship got off to a good start on Sunday at San Luis Obispo Country Club as junior Beverly Vatananugulkit fired a 1-under 72 and the Aggies took a 10-stroke lead after the first round.
The 37th-ranked Aggies shot a 2-over 294 team score to outdistance Long Beach State (+12), UC Irvine (+13), Cal State Northridge (+15) and Cal State Fullerton (+16) in the top five. Cal Poly (+21), UC Riverside (+24) and Hawaii (+29) round out the eight competing teams.
Vatananugulkit was the 2012 Big West medalist on the same San Luis Obispo Country Club course and owns a one-shot lead over Tisha Alyn Abrea and Martina Edberg of Cal State Fullerton, and Chaewon Park of Long Beach State.
"We managed ourselves very well today," said Aggie head coach Anna Temple
. "We got off to a bit of a tough start, but everyone hung in there and capitalized when opportunities existed. By sticking to what we've been working on all season, we were able to put together a round that was a good way to begin the tournament."
Vatananugulkit opened her day with five straight pars before a double-bogey put her 2 over after six holes. She had two bogeys on the back nine but countered those with five birdies over her final 12 holes - including four birdies during a six-hole span - to push herself into red numbers.
Chen, ranked 43rd by Golfstat, was 3 over after three holes but then went 2 under the rest of the way with no bogeys, as she rallied to challenge a par round en route to a 74. Lee matched that score with a consistent round that started with 12 consecutive pars. She finished with a birdie and just two bogeys.
Lewis' round of 74 included a pair of birdies on the par-5 fifth hole and the par-5 seventh as she covered her final 12 holes even. Wong made her turn 3 over before going just 2 over on the back, shooting 78 on the day.
UC Davis, which is already in strong position for an NCAA regional berth because of its lofty national ranking by Golfstat, is chasing the automatic berth that goes to the winner of the Big West Championship.
The Aggies will begin their second round at 10:30 a.m. on Monday and will play with Long Beach State and UC Irvine.
BIG WEST CHAMPIONSHIP
San Luis Obispo, Calif.
San Luis Obispo Country Club
Par 73, 6,196 yards
18 of 54 holes
1. UC DAVIS, 294
2. Long Beach State, 304
3. UC Irvine, 305
4. Cal State Northridge, 307
5. Cal State Fullerton, 308
6. Cal Poly, 313
7. UC Riverside, 316
8. Hawaii, 321