Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll. Murphy was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
UA women in 8th at Louisville regional
A Razorback head cover sits in a golf bag at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers during practice rounds for the Walmart NWA Arkansas Championship.
FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas women’s golf team stabilized itself after a disastrous back nine but still wound up on the wrong side of the cut line on Monday after the first round of the NCAA Louisville Regional.
The No. 17 Razorbacks, who teed off on No. 10 along with No. 16 Texas and Texas Tech, shot an 11-over 299 on the 6,289-yard, par 72 layout at the University of Louisville Golf Club to sit in a three-way tie for eighth place in the 54-hole event. The top six teams from each of four regionals will advance to the NCAA championships, along with the top three players from non-advancing teams at each regional.
Arkansas was in last place for a good part of the morning after playing the back nine at a combined 11 over par with only three birdies, 14 bogeys and two scores of double bogey or worse.
Freshman Cory Lopez, leading off in the UA lineup, had a pair of birdies while playing the front nine in 2 under to lead the Razorbacks at 1-under 71. Lopez, who had three birdies and one double-bogey, is in a tie for fifth.
Sophomore Ela Anacona shot a 2-over 74 with three birdies and five bogeys and is tied for 24th. Junior Brooke Matthews and sophomore Kajal Mistry both carded 5 over 77s to tie for 54th. Sophomore Julia Gregg contributed a non-scoring round of 80 for the Razorbacks.
“Obviously, we got off to a slow start today,” Arkansas Coach Shauna Taylor said in a UA release. “I saw great fight after we made the turn, though, and that has me excited for the next two days.
“Cory was clutch for us today and played some great golf. This thing is a marathon until Wednesday, and I wouldn’t want to do it with any other group of young women. They are poised and ready for the climb up the leaderboard.”
Florida State’s Amelia Williamson and UCLA’s Emilie Paltrinieri are tied atop the leaderboard at 4-under 68. Florida State’s Beatrice Wallin and Louisville’s Lauren Hartlage with one shot back at 69 to fill out the lone foursome to shoot better than 71.
Lopez is in a six-way tie for fifth place along with the South Carolina duo of Ana Pelaez and Mathilde Claisse, North Florida’s Christin Eisenbeiss, Furman’s Anna Morgan and Michigan State’s Yurika Tanida.
Arkansas was not the only team that struggled in the tough conditions, with high roughs and difficult pin placements.
Only No. 8 Florida State navigated the round under par with a 2-under 286. Just 10 of the 96 golfers at the regional managed to break par.
South Carolina, the No. 1 overall seed, shot a 7 over 295 and is in fifth place. The Gamecocks’ top golfer, No. 1 ranked Pauline Roussin-Bouchard, shot 79, with seven bogeys and a double, to tie for 82nd place.
No. 25 UCLA is in second place at 3 over, followed by Michigan State (+4) and host Louisville (+5). No. 9 Auburn is alone in sixth at 8 over, followed by Texas (+9), while the Razorbacks are tied with Tennessee and Central Florida at 11 over. Rounding out the top 15 are No. 23 Texas Tech (+13), Mercer (+14) and North Florida (+14), Texas-San Antonio (+15) and College of Charleston (+17).
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