TACOMA -- BYU is off to a strong start after the first round of the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational by shooting an eight-over-par 300 (par 73) and sits tied for fourth place with Pepperdine.
The tournament is being hosted by Washington at Tacoma C.C., a new site for this tourney. But the new course site did not stop the Cougars from playing an outstanding round. Four of the five players are sitting in top 20 individually.
"The girls worked really hard this week on getting the ball in the hole," said head golf coach Sue Nyhus. "This is a difficult golf course but the girls were prepared and played well."
Three of the Cougars had nine holes under-par in today's round, Nyhus said. One of those three Cougars was senior Jessica Gardner, who led the team with a one-over-par 73 (35-39) to put herself tied for 11th. Sisters Nicole Newren (junior) and Natalie Newren (sophomore) carded a pair of 75's to be tied for 18th. Sophomore Margaret Gibby finished with a 76 (40-36) to put herself tied for 20th. And freshman Symantha Mendenhall shot 77 (39-38) to be tied for 30th.
"The course was really intimidating on Saturday during our practice round," Gardner said. "But today that wasn't the case at all; I was not only hitting pretty much every green in regulation but I was hitting it close and then putting well."
Nicole Newren also played strong after starting off four-over-par on the first three holes and then finishing only two-over-par.
Southern California is the tournament's defending champion and is in the lead again at even par and four shots ahead of Washington. BYU sits only eight shots back of the lead.
USC's Becky Lucidi is leading the tournament individually with an eight-under-par 65, which also broke the course record that current Husky head coach Mary Lou Mulflur set in 1997 with a 66. Four players tied for second trail six shots back at two-under-par (71).
The second round begins Tuesday with tee times at 9 a.m. off the first and 10th tee.
Fin. Team Score
1 Southern California 292 E
2 Washington, U. of 296 +4
3 California, U. of 299 +7
4 Brigham Young Univ. 300 +8
Pepperdine Univ. 300 +8
6 Oregon State U. 301 +9
7 UCLA 303 +11
8 Stanford University 307 +15
9 Oregon, U. of 312 +20
10 San Francisco, U. of 314 +22
11 Long Beach State 315 +23
Fin. Brigham Young Univ. 300
T 11 Jessica Gardner 35- 39 74
T 18 Natalie Newren 39- 36 75
T 18 Nicole Newren 37- 38 75
T 20 Margaraet Gibby 40- 36 76
T 30 Symantha Mendenhall 39- 38 77