BYU in 17th after day one of NCAA Championship

SUNRIVER -- BYU's women's golf team is tied for 17th place after starting the 2005 NCAA Championship with a 21-over 305 at the Meadows Course at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Ore. on Tuesday.

As the second-lowest ranked team in the NCAA Championship tournament field, the Cougars played above expectations on the first day. Sitting in 17th place, BYU is 18 strokes behind first-round leader USC who finished the day at three-over-par. Three teams ranked in the nation's top 20 trail BYU who is tied with ninth-ranked Tulane and No. 30 Texas A&M.

"We're working hard out there and I think we'll continue to do better," BYU head coach Sue Nyhus said. "We're hitting the ball real well, but we're having a tough time getting the ball into the hole."

When BYU has done well this season they have had a good low score from Rachel Newren. Newren played well, but her first-round 75 wasn't as low as the Cougars had hoped. When BYU played on this course in April for the Mountain West Conference Championship, Newren shot a first round one-under 70 and went on to finish in second place at four-over-par. She is currently tied for 47th place along with Utah product Annie Thurman of Oklahoma State.

BYU was led in the first round by true freshman Juli Wightman who carded a three-over 74, her best round since November 2004. Wightman finished the last 11 holes even par and is tied for 35th place.

The Cougars also had a good score from Margaret Gibby, who has come on strong during the last three months of her college career. Gibby fired a six-over 76 on the first day and is tied for 74th place.

With three good scores on the board all the Cougars needed was a good fourth. BYU, however, struggled to get a solid fourth score as senior Natalie Newren and sophomore Alexis Edwards carded a 79 and an 80 respectively. With each team counting its top four scores toward its team total, BYU's lack of a good fourth score hurt its first-day finish.

"We've got three people playing right now," Nyhus said. "We really need to get four good scores tomorrow."

With three more rounds of play, the Cougars have ample opportunity to move up the leaderboard. BYU's top finish at the NCAA tournament is 14th place in 1985. The Cougars are just two strokes out of 14th place and just five strokes out of the top 10.

The Cougars will have an afternoon tee time and will continue playing with Michigan State and Florida beginning at 12:30 p.m. Fans can follow the tournament live on the internet at www.golfstat.com.

1.  USC              287  +3

2. UCLA 288 +4

3. Auburn 290 +6

4. Pepperdine 291 +7

5. Duke 292 +8

5. Washington 292 +8

7. California 295 +11

8. Arkansas 296 +12

9. Oklahoma State 298 +14

10. Stanford 300 +16

10. Tennessee 300 +16

12. Florida 301 +17

12. Ohio State 301 +17

14. Arizona State 303 +19

15. Michigan State 304 +20

15. Virginia 304 +20

17. BYU 305 +21

17. Texas A&M 305 +21

17. Tulane 305 +21

20. Missouri 307 +23

20. Furman 307 +23

20. Tulsa 307 +23

23. Purdue 309 +25

24. UC Irvine 311 +27

T35th. Juli Wightman 74 +3

T47th. Rachel Newren 75 +4

T74th. Margaret Wright 77 +6

T98th. Natalie Newren 79 +8

T113th. Alexis Edwards 80 +9

Tags: Results