Sophomore Natalia Jimenez started her srping season with an even-par 71. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
TUCSON -- Playing against 11 of the top 20 teams in the nation, the BYU women's golf team started their spring season in second-place with a 12-over-par 296 at the Arizona Wildcat Invitational.
No. 22 BYU is only one shot out of the lead after 18 holes of 36 for the day, sharing their spot with No. 11 UCLA, No. 4 Duke and No. 16 Southern California. No. 3 Pepperdine leads the tournament with an 11-over-par 295.
"The little breeze that keeps coming and going makes the golf course harder as it keeps changing from hole to hole," said head coach Sue Nyhus "The weather is great though, we are happy to be out of the snow and playing outside."
The Cougars reacted well to this change. Natalia Jimenez leads the Cougars after the first round, placing second individually. She kept a couple of bogeys and a triple-bogey from slowing her down, as she had six other birdies to even out her score to an even-par 71. Close behind is All-American Rachel Newren, who shot a one-over-par 72 and is tied for fourth.
" After a long winter break, the girls came out, played with a lot of poise and had a good round," Nyhus said, "We left a lot of shots out there, but we are playing with the best in the country and proving that we are a great team capable of winning a National Championship."
Daphne Vines finished the first round at a 5-over-par 76, Alexis Edwards and Juli Erekson both finished at a 6-over-par 77.
Among the other top-ranked teams playing in the tournament, are No. 9 Stanford, No. 2 Arizona State, No. 6 Vanderbilt, No. 8 Arizona, No. 12 Tennessee, No. 10 Virginia and conference rival No. 14 New Mexico. With the only under par score of the day, Amanda Blumenherst leads the tournament individually with a one-under-par 70.
With 36 holes left, the tournament will end on Tuesday, as play continues with a shot gun start at 8 a.m.
Follow the action live on the internet at www.golfstat.com.
1 Pepperdine 295 (+11)
T2 Brigham Young 296 (+12)
T2 UCLA 296 (+12)
T2 Duke 296 (+12)
T2 Southern California 296 (+12)
T6 New Mexico 299 (+15)
T6 Stanford 299 (+15)
T8 Arizona State 300 (+16)
T8 UNLV 300 (+16)
10 Washington 301 (+17)
T2 Natalia Jimenez 71 (E)
T4 Rachel Newren 72 (+1)
T37 Daphne Vines 76 (+5)
T46 Alexis Edwards 77 (+6)
T46 Juli Erekson 77 (+6)