May 11, 2012
ERIE, Colo. - Junior Amy Simanton and freshman Blair Lewis each fired 2-under 70's during Friday's second round as No. 23 UC Davis charged up the leaderboard and to within striking distance for a coveted top-eight finish at the NCAA Division I Women's Golf West Regional.
The Aggies, who entered the day tied for 18th-place and seven shots out of the top eight, moved into a tie for 11th after shooting an impressive 7-over 295, and are just three shots from a spot which would give them a berth into the national finals. The final round is scheduled for Saturday.
Lewis is tied for 19th at 3-over 147 while Simanton is one shot back of her in a tie for 22nd. Junior Demi Runas had a 76 and is tied for 40th at 6 over, freshman Beverly Vatananugulkit is tied for 88th at 11 over after a 79 on Friday, and sophomore Jessica Chulya carded an 81 and is tied for 117th at 19 over.
"Amy and Blair kept us in it today," said head coach Anne Walker. "They really stepped up when we needed them. I am particularly proud of Blair. She has been on the verge of an under-par round all season and this was a great time for her to go low."
The Aggies are 24-over 600 after 36 holes and tied with No. 31 Tulsa and San Jose State. Oklahoma, ranked 26th, is just a shot behind the trio. Cal currently occupies eighth place at 21 over while No. 11 Colorado, playing on its home course, is tied with Illinois for ninth place at 22 over.
Altogether, just five shots separate the seventh through 14th-place teams with only one round remaining. The top eight teams will move on to the NCAA Finals in Tennessee later this month. The Aggies are trying to earn a spot in that elite field for the third time since moving to Div. I five seasons ago.
"Hopefully we will get off to a good start (Saturday) and apply some pressure," said Walker.
Simanton got off to a good start of her own on Friday. Starting her round on the Colorado National Golf Club's 10th hole, Simanton picked up a birdie on the par-4 11th and another on the par-3 16th to make her turn at 2 under after also collecting seven pars. She had a double-bogey later in the round but birdied two of her final three holes to move back in the red for the day.
Lewis had a spectacular day herself with five birdies. Two came on her front nine while three more were tallied over the course's first five holes. She was 1 over after eight holes on Friday but her birdie blitz, which totaled four over six holes, helped push her three shots under par before she finished with a season-low 70.
Runas, the Big West Player of the Year, was 4 over after nine holes in her second round but battled back to play the last nine just a shot over par. She helped highlight her day with a birdie-3 on the fourth hole, one of two birdies she had during her round of 76.
Vatananugulkit had two birdies as well - one on each side - and added 10 pars to help counter five holes of bogey or more. Chulya's birdie on the 16th hole helped her play her front nine just three shots over par. She was 6 over on her final nine holes, finishing with an 81.
Stanford, ranked 40th, took a one-shot lead in the team standings at 4-over 580. LSU, ranked seventh, is one shot behind while No. 6 North Carolina and No. 1 UCLA are six shots off the pace. The Tar Heels' Catherine O'Donnell is 5-under 139 and owns a one-shot advantage over Austin Ernst of LSU in the player standings.
UC Davis will play with Tulsa and Colorado on Saturday. The Aggies will start on the 10th hole, beginning at 6:30 a.m. (Pacific).
NCAA DIV. I WOMEN'S GOLF WEST REGIONAL
Erie, Colo. (hosted by Univ. of Colorado)
Colorado National Golf Club
Par 72, 6,575 yards
36 of 54 holes
1. Stanford, 287-293-580
2. LSU, 291-290-581
T3. North Carolina, 288-298-586
T3. UCLA, 290-296-586
5. Baylor, 300-293-593
6. Texas Tech, 300-294-594
7. Pepperdine, 297-299-596
8. California, 296-301-597
T9. Colorado, 297-301-598
T9. Illinois, 296-302-598
T11. Tulsa, 297-303-600
T11. UC DAVIS, 305-295-600
T11. San Jose State, 302-298-600
14. Oklahoma, 305 -296-601
15. UNLV, 302-301-603
16. Iowa State, 302-302-604
17. TCU, 302-303-605
18. New Mexico, 303-307-610
19. Denver, 304-311-615
20. Kennesaw State, 309-311-620
21. Missouri State, 314-307-621
22. Oregon State, 313-318-631
23. Northern Colorado, 311-324-635
24. Jackson State, 348-355-703
1. Catherine O'Donnell, North Carolina, 70-69-139