Vatananugulkit Leads Aggies into Fifth at Regional

Betty Chen

May 9, 2013

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NORMAN, Okla. - Beverly Vatananugulkit drained four birdies and shot a 3-under 69 during the first round of the NCAA Central Regional at the University of Oklahoma on Thursday morning as the 16th-ranked UC Davis women's golf team ended the first round in a fifth-place tie.

UC Davis opened the 24-team regional - its fourth straight and fifth during its brief six-year Div. I era - with a 3-over 281 and is tied with 27th-ranked Michigan State. The top eight teams after Saturday's final round will move onto the NCAA Finals later this month. Ninth-ranked Florida is 6 under and leads host Oklahoma by a shot.

Freshmen Andrea Wong and Betty Chen each had 73's on Thursday while seniors Demi Runas and Amy Simanton had 76's.

Vatananugulkit, third at the Big West Championships in April, started her regional in spectacular fashion. An early birdie and a bogey put her even after five holes but then she turned it on from there to play the last 13 holes three shots under par.

Vatananugulkit birdied the par-5 18th hole which dropped her to 1 under - she started her round on the 10th hole - while back-to-back birdies on the the par-4 3rd and 4th holes put her 3 under. She had pars the rest of the way and is just two shots behind leader Emily Collins of Oklahoma who had a 67.

Wong earned Big West Freshman of the Year accolades after her runner-up finish at the conference tournament and continued her strong play with her 73 on Tuesday. An incredible rally that saw her birdie the last three holes and four of the final five turned her around from 5 over to just 1 over at the end. Wong was 3 under on her back nine.

Chen had a contrasting scorecard to reach her 73, collecting two bogeys and a birdie on her front nine and then finishing her day with nine straight pars. Her birdie came on the par-5 13th. Both Aggies are tied for 35th place.

Runas was just 1 over after the first nine holes and still only 1 over after 12 but had three bogeys down the stretch to card a 76. Simanton was 4 over after her opening nine holes but then was even the rest of the way during her round of 76, posting a birdie on the par-5 8th hole to help highlight her round.

"We got off to an alright start but were able to recover well on our back nine," said head coach Anna Temple. "Bev, Betty, and Andrea did a great job leading the team today. There are a lot of great teams in the field and it will be important for us to stick with our plan tomorrow. Demi's and Amy's leadership and experience will play a big role for us for in the second round."

A four-team logjam for seventh place sits just one shot behind UC Davis while fourth-place TCU is only one stroke in front.

The 54-hole regional is being played at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club which is playing to 6,298 yards this week.

After playing in the morning wave with Arizona State and Washington on Thursday, the Aggies will join their playing partners in the afternoon wave on Friday. UC Davis will begin play at 10:56 a.m. on the first hole.

Norman, Okla. (hosted by Univ. of Oklahoma)
Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club
Par 72, 6,298 yards
18 of 54 holes

1. Florida, 282
2. Oklahoma, 283
3. Duke, 284
4. TCU, 290
T5. Michigan State, 291
T5. UC DAVIS, 291
T7. Mississippi State, 292
T7. Arizona State, 292
T7. Wisconsin, 292
T7. Indiana, 292
11. Coastal Carolina, 293
T12. Iowa State, 294
T12. Washington, 294
T12. North Carolina State, 294
T15. Texas Tech, 296
T15. SMU, 296
17. Wake Forest, 299
T18. Campbell, 301
T18. Illinois State, 301
20. UTSA, 302
T21. Gonzaga, 303
T21. Lamar, 303
23. Butler, 305
24. Detroit, 312

1. Emily Collins, Oklahoma, 67

T3. Beverly Vatananugulkit, 69
T35. Andrea Wong, 73
T35. Betty Chen, 73
T77. Demi Runas, 76
T77. Amy Simanton 76