CORVALLIS -- With one day down and one round finished, BYU sits in a close fourth place Monday at the Oregon State Shanico Invitational played at the Trysting Tree Golf Club.
"The great thing about our first round is that we were paired with two of the top teams in the country (Arizona and New Mexico) and we played right with them," said BYU head coach Sue Nyhus.
The Cougars finsihed the first round of the par 72 course at 296, 7 shots behind second place No. 18 Arizona and 12 shots off the leader, California. Also paired with No. 12 New Mexico, the Cougars lead the the two-time Mountain West Conference Champions by 14 strokes.
With the 296 finish, BYU was just four strokes away from breaking its all-time low team score of 292. "That record is going to fall some time this year," Nyhus said.
"Our confidence level is rising and this team is starting to believe in themselves," Nyhus said. "They are starting to realize that no one person has to carry more than their share on this team."
Senior Jessica Gardner took the lead for BYU in the opening round, finishing in third place with a personal best 69 as a Cougar. The first-round 69 was two strokes better than her previous career best, a 71 Gardner shot at the 2000 NCAA West Regional in Tempe, Ariz.
Senior All-American Carrie Summerhays played strong and steady all day, finishing tied for 12th with a 73. Lisa Dernick finished tied at 24th with a 76. True freshman Natalie Newren shot a 78 for BYU to finish up the scoring for the Cougars. Nyhus said Newren, who injured her leg Sunday and had to go to the emergency room, can record a lower score than she did in the first round.
BYU begins the second round of play Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. "We've got a balanced attack and each of these girls can shoot a great score on any given day," Nyhus said.