Juli Erekson is tied for sixth place individually
ST. GEORGE -- The 14th-ranked Cougars showed they can play with the best as they finished the first round of the NCAA West Regional at Entrada at Snow Canyon in second place with a seven-over-par 291.
Hoping to be among the top eight teams and advance to the NCAA Championship, BYU took a step in the right direction on Thursday thanks to a steady first round and solid team play on their home-away-from-home course. Stanford holds a four stroke lead at three over par with BYU and 11th-ranked Oklahoma State tied for second place. Fifth-ranked Pepperdine is in fourth place at eight-over-par while top-seed and second-ranked Arizona State is 10-over-par and in fifth place. Individually, Oklahoma State's Pernilla Lindberg finished the day three-under-par for the clubhouse lead. Only five golfers went under par on the day.
"We got off to a slow start, but we really settled down and got into a good groove," BYU assistant coach Dave DeSantis said. "In preparation for regionals we tried to treat it like another event and we went through the same routine. I think this helped us not get too excited today."
BYU started the day on the back nine and handled the intimidating lava holes like a team who has experienced Entrada at Snow Canyon several times before. With just three holes to play, BYU was just three over par and pushing 16th-ranked Stanford, but a couple bogies coming in cost them a chance at the lead. Regardless of their finish, the Cougars had little to complain about on their statement first round.
"You can't win it on the first day, but you can sometimes lose it," DeSantis said. "We are very happy with the way we played today."
The Cougars were led by junior Juli Erekson, who, despite a double bogey on her last hole, finished with an impressive even-par 71 and is tied for sixth individually. Close behind Erekson were seniors Rachel Newren and Danielle von Arnim who came in one-over-par 72 and in a tie for ninth place with nine other golfers. Daphne Vines and Natalia Jimenez were five over and six over on the day respectively. This is the third straight tournament BYU has played this season at Entrada at Snow Canyon.
"We know this course like the back of our hand," von Arnim said. "Hopefully, we'll continue to play with confidence and with focus."
BYU last qualified for the NCAA Championship in 2005 and are hoping today's round can give them a boost towards their goal. Second round action will begin Friday at 12:50 p.m. on the first tee. You can follow the Cougars live online at www.golfstat.com
Fans can also follow daily video stories on the tournament on GolfweekTV
BYU INDIVIDUAL SCORES
Juli Erekson 71
Rachel Newren 72
Danielle von Arnim 72
Daphne Vines 76
Natalia Jimenez 77