TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The Arizona women’s golf team opened up their annual home tournament with a strong start. After 36 holes on Monday, Arizona sits five shots behind tournament leader UCLA going into the final round on Tuesday in Tucson, Ariz.
The Wildcats shot a 10-over-par 578 to stand in second behind UCLA after the Bruins shot a 5-under-par 573. Tennessee (580) and Arizona State (585) are in third and fourth, respectively. Oklahoma State rounds out the top-five after shooting a 25-over-par 593.
“Extremely happy with the effort today. This is the best two round score we’ve had in a long time and for sure the best two rounds we’ve had in our home tournament in three years. So this is great momentum and confidence for us to come out tomorrow. Least we are in contention. It’s been a while since we’ve been in contention to win a tournament. It was a great team effort. Everybody contributed today,” Head Coach Greg Allen said.
Individually, junior Lani Elston shot her collegiate low-round during the first round. Elston shot a 68(-3) on Arizona’s home course. She finished the day tied in fourth with UNLV’s Elena Kurokawa at 141 (-1).
“I was very happy that I knocked that putt in on the first hole. I’m happy to have it over with and know that I played really well,” Lani Elston said. “[Tomorrow I want to] keep a good mind set and hopefully my game will come to me like it did in the first round.”
Junior Whitney Welch also notched her collegiate low-round in the first round when she shot a 71 (E). After shooting a 72 (+1) in round two, Welch is in sixth place going into Tuesday’s round.
“By Whitney [Welch] doing what she did today, after last year almost loosing complete confidence in her golf game at this same tournament, is great in itself. It is because of the amount of work and effort that has gone into her game and her work ethic she’s displayed,” Allen said.
Junior Cassandra Kirkland is tied for 15th with Stanford’s Kelly Husted at 148. Seniors Miriam Kraschinski and Mar Garcia are both tied for 25th at 8-over-par 150.
Competing as individuals for Arizona, sophomore Rachel Gavin is tied in 43rd after shooting 13-over-par 155. Gavin tied her career low round in the second-round with a 75 (+4). Senior Katie Christy is in 72nd after carding 170 (+28).
The Wildcats will tee off tomorrow in the final round at an 8 a.m. (MST) shotgun start. The tournament is being contested at Arizona National Golf Club, Par 71 over a 6,238-yard layout.