Chen Leads Aggies into 15th Place after First Round

Demi Runas

May 21, 2013

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ATHENS, Ga. - Freshman Betty Chen fired a 1-over 73 in her national finals debut while senior Demi Runas shot 74 as No. 17 UC Davis opened its third-ever NCAA Division I Women's Golf Finals tied for 15th at the University of Georgia Golf Course.

The four-time defending Big West Conference champion Aggies carded an 11-over 299 while playing in the morning wave of players and are tied with No. 6 Vanderbilt, No. 10 Florida and No. 18 Texas. Top-ranked USC and 48th-ranked San Jose State are 4 under for the early lead of the 72-hole tournament.

Chen is tied for 33rd in the 126-player field while Runas is tied for 46th. Senior Amy Simanton is tied for 64th after her 3-over 75 while freshman Andrea Wong and sophomore Beverly Vatananugulkit are tied for 89th after each finishing with 77's.

"National championship weeks are always fun," said head coach Anna Temple. "When a team has worked hard to have the opportunity to compete for a title, it is always interesting. We were in a really good place and just didn't quite finish out the round. A 72-hole event is great because we have the opportunity to go out tomorrow and play the way we know we can."

UC Davis made its first appearance at the NCAA Finals during its inaugural Div. I season in 2008 and then returned in 2011. The Aggies have been in the NCAA Championship postseason as a team five times in their first six seasons at the Div. I level.

Chen tied for 11th at the NCAA Central Regional two weeks ago - the best UC Davis finish - and picked up Tuesday where she left off. She opened with five straight pars and had 14 over her first 15 holes. A birdie on the par-3 16th brought her back to even before a bogey on the final hole brought her in with a 73.

Runas, playing in her second national finals, made her turn 1 over and was later 3 over before carding a birdie on the par-5 17th hole. Simanton, at the NCAA Finals for the second time as well, was 1 over after nine holes and then had birdies on the par-5 12th and par-4 15th holes while finishing 3 over for the day.

Wong and Vatananugulkit not only matched their overall scores but did so by both playing the back nine just a shot over par. Wong birdied the 17th hole while Vatananugulkit picked one up on the par-4 10th.

Collectively, the Aggies played the back nine of the course 5 over.

UC Davis is just four shots from the top 10 in the 24-team tournament and only one from 12th place which is currently occupied by three teams.

Reagan De Guzman of San Jose State shot 67 and has a two-shot lead over Celine Boutier of Duke and Stephanie Meadow of Alabama.

The Aggies will play in the afternoon wave on Wednesday, starting on the 10th hole and playing with Northwestern and Arizona for the second consecutive day.

Athens, Ga. (hosted by the Univ. of Georgia)
Univ. of Georgia Golf Course
18 of 72 holes

T1. USC, 284
T1. San Jose State, 284
3. Duke, 286
4. Alabama, 288
T5. UCLA, 289
T5. Purdue, 289
7. Stanford, 290
8. Oklahoma, 291
9. Arizona State, 293
10. Tulane, 295
11. Arkansas, 296
T12. Michigan State, 298
T12. Arizona, 298
T12. Northwestern, 298
T15. Texas, 299
T15. UC DAVIS, 299
T15. Florida, 299
T15. Vanderbilt, 299
19. Mississippi State, 300
T20. Oregon, 301
T20. Wisconsin, 301
22. Oklahoma State, 303
23. South Carolina, 304
24. Auburn, 305

1. Regan De Guzman, San Jose State, 67

T33. Betty Chenn, 73
T46. Demi Runas, 74
T64. Amy Simanton, 75
T89. Andrea Wong, 77
T89. Beverly Vatananugulkit, 77