BEND -- Junior Margaret Gibby fired a one-under 70 in the opening round to help pace the fourth-place Cougars at the 2004 MWC Women's Golf Championship played on the Meadows Course (Par 71/5,851) at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Ore.
Gibby made two birdies and 15 pars to finish the day tied for second place with Katrina Leckovic of New Mexico and trailing day-one leader Elena Kurokawa of UNLV by two strokes.
"It was one of those days where everything seemed easier to me," Gibby said. "I had a lot of confidence in my shots. I knew if I could get it on the fairway I could get it on the green."
Gibby, the Cougars top golfer this season, got help from her teammates, namely Nicole Newren-Chandler, Alexis Edwards and Rachel Newren. Newren-Chandler finished the day four-over and in 11th place while Rachel Newren and Edwards both shot five-over and are tied for 16th place. Natalie Newren, who was five-over after the first nine holes, came back to finish seven over and is tied for 23rd.
In the race for the team championship, UNLV holds a two-stroke lead over four-time tournament champion New Mexico while Colorado State sits in third place at 10-over par, just three strokes ahead of the Cougars.
The Cougars have finished fourth the past three MWC Championships and have an excellent chance of catching Colorado State on Friday thanks to a strong back nine on the first day.
"We started off a bit slow, but we came back and finished the day strong," BYU head coach Sue Nyhus said. "I think the way we finished will give us a lot of confidence heading into the second round."
The second round will begin at 10 a.m. (PT) Friday morning, with the final 18 holes beginning Saturday at 10 a.m. Follow the MWC Women's Golf Championship live on Golfstat.com live scoring.
1. UNLV 289 (+5)
2. New Mexico 291 (+7)
3. Colorado State 295 (+11)
4. BYU 297 (+13)
5. San Diego State 301 (+17)
6. Wyoming 329 (+45)
1. Elena Kurokawa, UNLV 36-32=68 (-3)
2. Katrina Leckovic, New Mexico 37-33=70 (-1)
Margaret Gibby, BYU 35-35=70 (-1)
4. Lynette Duran, Colorado State 36-35=71 (E)
Shannon Johnson, UNLV 38-33=71 (E)
6. Hwanhee Lee, UNLV 36-36=72 (+1)
7. Sunny Oh, UNLV 37-36=73 (+2)
Dawna Virdell, Colorado State 38-35=73 (+2)
Jenna Wilson, San Diego State 35-38=73 (+2)
10. Heather McRae, San Diego State 38-36=74 (+3)
OTHER BYU INDIVIDUAL SCORES
11. Nicole Newren-Chandler, BYU 38-37=75 (+4)
16. Alexis Edwards, BYU 39-37=76 (+5)
16. Rachel Newren, BYU 40-36=76 (+5)
23. Natalie Newren, BYU 41-37=78 (+7)