ALBUQUERQUE -- The Cougars started out strong in the opening round of the Dick McGuire Invitational, shooting a 309 and are tied for fifth place out of 17 teams.
Sophomore Catalina Guacaneme led the pack shooting three under in the front nine, but struggled in the back nine to finish hitting two-over-par. She finished tied for 12th place and looks to place in the top-10 teams after Friday.
"We're pleased with how we played," head coach Sue Nyhus said. "But at the same time, we know there is a lot more we can do."
BYU was in the top three after the front nine, competing against a field full of top-20 teams. New Mexico ended the first round with a score of three-over-par, 295, and Oklahoma State just five behind at 300. Kailin Downs of New Mexico leads the tournament with three-under-par.
Junior Natalie Newren recorded two bogeys in the front nine and two in the back nine for four-over-par. She finished tied for 25th place and can move up to the top 20 with consistent play in the next round. Junior Margaret Gibby shot one behind Newren, including one birdie and three bogies in the back nine to finish five-over-par.
"Through 12 holes we were in third place, but we kind of faded at the end," Nyhus said. "We missed some shots out there today, but we'll have a chance to move up tomorrow."
With two more days to play, BYU sits in fifth place but hopes to improve play on the course's tricky green and move up the board. The Cougars see much improvement from last year's 16th place in the first round of the McGuire.
"Even with the tricky greens, we handled the course very well today," Nyhus said.
1. New Mexico - 295 (+3)
2. Oklahoma State - 300 (+8)
3. Pepperdine - 306 (+14)
4. UNLV - 307 (+15)
T5. BYU - 309 (+17)
T5. Arizona State - 309 (+17)
T7. Texas A&M - 310 (+18)
T7. Baylor - 310 (+18)
T7. TCU - 310 (+18)
T7. Tulsa - 310 (+18)
T7. TCU - 310 (+18)
T7. New Mexico State - 310 (+18)
T12. Texas Tech - 313 (+21)
T12. UTEP - 313 (+21)
14. San Diego State - 314 (+22)
15. Colorado State - 321 (+29)
16. Hawaii - 323 (+31)
17. Wyoming - 340 (+48)
T12 Catalina Guacaneme - 75 (+2)
T25 Natalie Newren - 77 (+4)
T34 Margaret Gibby - 78 (+5)
Nicole Newren-Chandler 79 (+6)
Rachel Newren - 80 (+7)
TOP 5 INDIVIDUALS:
1. Kailin Downs (New Mexico) - 70 (-3)
T2. Seema Sadekar (UNLV) - 71 (-2)
T2. Karin Sjodin (Oklahoma State) - 71 (-2)
T4. Sunny Oh (UNLV) - 72 (-1)
T4. Amy Willmon (UTEP) - 72 (-1)