May 8, 2014
CLE ELUM, Wash. - Betty Chen shot an opening-round 74 and junior Blair Lewis provided the tournament's highlight of the day with her hole-in-one on the 17th hole as the 13th-seeded UC Davis women's golf team started in seventh place on Thursday at the NCAA West Regional being played Tumble Creek Club at Suncadia Resort.
The Aggies are making their fifth consecutive appearance in the regional and are looking to move onto the NCAA Finals for the second straight season. To do so, they'll need to finish Saturday's final round among the top eight places. They fired a 12-over 300 on the opening day and are tied with 27th-ranked Iowa State. Both teams lead No. 47 Wisconsin by a stroke while No. 19 Northwestern, No. 13 Clemson and No. 42 Denver are two shots back.
Chen's 2-over 74 was UC Davis' low score of the day and put her in a tie for 24th place. Freshman Paige Lee and sophomore Andrea Wong each had 75s and are tied for 35th, Lewis fired a 76 and is tied for 45th, and junior Beverly Vatananugulkit is tied for 75th after shooting 78.
Lewis provided a memorable moment for herself and the Aggies with her ace on the par-3, 165-yard 17th hole. That helped her play the final four holes two shots under par and cover the back nine at par. She was 4 over on the front but strung together five consecutive pars.
Chen had an eagle of her own, posting one on the par-4 3rd hole to help counter an early bogey and eventually play the front nine even. She was 2 over on the back, finishing with five pars in a row. Lee was 4 over on her first nine holes and was 5 over after 13 holes, but then had birdies on the par-5 14th and par-5 18th to help her finish strong.
Wong's 75 was highlighted by a pair of birdies on the front nine. The first came on the third hole and the other came on the par-5 eighth. She was 3 over on the back nine. Vatananugulkit was just 2 over at her turn thanks to a birdie on the eighth hole and was 4 over the rest of the way.
"I am really pleased with our efforts on the course today and how well we executed our game plan," said Aggie head coach Anna Temple. "An obvious highlight was Blair's hole-in-one. It was beautiful!
"We are looking forward to competing early tomorrow morning and improving on the good work from today," she added.
Fourth-ranked Kyung Kim of USC shot an impressive 6-under 66 while Noemi Jimenez of Arizona State and Marijosse Navarro of Texas A&M are one shot back. Eleven players broke par on the par-72, 6,252-yard course.
Top-ranked USC shot a 4-under 284 to lead host and No. 11 Washington by four shots. Sixth-ranked Arizona State (+1), No. 36 Texas A&M (+2) and No. 23 Michigan State (+3) and No. 7 Oklahoma (+3) round out the top six teams.
The 37th-ranked Aggies will have an early start to Friday's second round, beginning on the 10th hole at 7:30 a.m. They'll play with Denver and San Diego State.
The 24-team regional - one of three regionals taking place this weekend - concludes on Saturday.
NCAA WEST REGIONAL
Cle Elum, Wash. (hosted by the Univ. of Washington)
Tumble Creek Club at Suncadia Resort
Par 72, 6,252 yards
18 of 54 holes
1. USC, 284
2. Washington, 288
3. Arizona State, 289
4. Texas A&M, 290
T 5. Michigan State, 291
T5. Oklahoma, 291
T7. Iowa State, 300
T7. UC DAVIS, 300
9. Wisconsin, 301
T10. Northwestern, 302
T10. Clemson, 302
T10. Denver, 302
13. Wake Forest, 304
14. GRU Augusta, 305
15. Tennessee, 306
16. Oregon, 311
T17. Portland State. 314
T17. New Mexico, 314
T19. Chattanooga, 316
T19. Notre Dame, 316
T21. Gonzaga, 317
T21. San Diego State, 317
T21. New Mexico State, 317
24. Detroit Mercy, 336
1. Kyung Kim, USC, 66
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East-West Match Play