WILMINGTON, N.C. – The University of Alabama women's golf team opened the 2010 NCAA Championships with a 1-over-par round of 289 on Tuesday and is tied for sixth place at the par-72, 6,368-yard Dye Course at the Country Club of the Landfall.
"In the first round we just want to not shoot ourselves in the foot and stay in contact with the rest of the field, and we were able to do that today," Alabama head coach Mic Potter said. "You always think you can play better, but we are comfortable out here. The girls like the golf course and the speed of the greens. I'm please with the way we played today."
The Crimson Tide is tied with Florida State at 1-over par, seven strokes off the lead of Southern California. The Trojans shot a 6-under 282 with Purdue two shots back at 4-under par. UCLA, Arizona State and Duke are all tied for third place at even-par 288.
Sophomore Brooke Pancake paced Alabama with a bogey-free round of 2-under-par 70 during Tuesday's first round. The native of Chattanooga, Tenn., is tied for eighth place after the opening 18 holes. Beginning the day on the 10th hole, Pancake birdied the par-5 12th hole and the par-5 18th before carding nine consecutive pars on her back nine to close her round.
"That was a pretty impressive round for Brooke," Potter said. "This is a good golf course for her. She had a lot of chances today and was never really in any trouble. That is her game, to put it in play and put it on the greens. She is going to hit a lot of balls close, it is just a matter of how many putts she is going to make."
Senior Rhea Nair closed with a 3-under-par 33 on her back nine Tuesday to finish at 1-under-par 71 in a tied for 14th. She opened with bogeys on No. 11 and No. 14, her second and fifth hole, but strung together four consecutive pars to finish her opening nine and two more pars on the first and second holes before a run of three birdies in four holes (No. 3, 5, 6) to get under par for her round.
"Rhea is just continuing what she did at regionals," Potter said. "If you can be confident coming off of Stanford's golf course then you can come out here and really feel good about how you are playing. She is very confident right now and hitting the ball extremely well."
Junior Camilla Lennarth is tied for 30th after an opening-round 73. She went out in 1-under-par 35 with birdies on the 15th and 18th holes after a bogey on No. 12. Bogeys on the par-4 third hole and the par-3 eighth hole dropped her to 1-over-par for the day.
True freshman Jennifer Kirby was the Tide's fourth score on Tuesday at 3-over-par 75. The native of Paris, Ontario, Canada, carded four bogeys and one birdie – the par-5 18th – and is tied for 64th. Senior Helena Blomberg is two shots back of Kirby in a tie for 87th after a 5-over-par 77 that included four birdies, five bogeys and two double bogeys.
The Crimson Tide will tee off at 7:55 a.m. (CDT) on Wednesday for the second round of the 2010 NCAA Women's Golf Championships. Alabama will play with Duke and New Mexico for the second straight day.