Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Walt Beazley)
AUBURN, Ala. (Univ. of Ark.) - University of Arkansas junior Emma Lavy fired a career-best 67 and came off the golf course tied for the lead with the No. 5 Razorbacks tied for second at the 2013 NCAA East Regional in Auburn, Ala., Thursday.
Lavy and the Razorbacks were among the first players and teams finished in the 24 team event and third five-under 283 was good for a tie for second place at the end of the day.
"Obviously it was a tremendous round of golf from Emma today," Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor said. "She just stayed really poised and focused on one shot at a time, stuff we have talked about all year long. She did a really great job of executing each shot.
"The team is in a good position and we have to continue to execute our game plan and commit to the process that we have worked on all year long," she continued. "I don't think by any means we played our best golf but we were solid and put ourselves in contention to win a championship."
Lavy, a Fayetteville, Ark., native, put together 18 holes with one bogey and six birdies for a five-under 67. That mark is one shot better than her previous best of 68 set earlier this season.
Lavy opened with a bogey on the first hole but responded with a two on the par three second hole returning to even. She birded four, six and seven to turn three under and added two more on 13 and 14 to finish her round.
Lavy's score paced Arkansas to a five-under 283 and they trail second-ranked Alabama who blistered the course with a first-round, 11-under 277. The Razorbacks are tied with No. 20 Tulane and ahead of No. 8 UCLA with 288, No. 23 Texas with 289 and No. 17 Oklahoma State and No. 11 North Carolina with 290.
"I got off to an interesting start," Lavy said. "I was in the woods on one, and I bogeyed the first hold. I told myself to stay patient and stay in it because there are plenty of birdies out there." I think I just really tried to stay in the shot and not get ahead of myself to the next shot or the next hole or anything. I really tried to commit to what I was doing right then more than anything. I love this course. It's a good golf course. There's always a good spot to be in. You can find bad spots, but there's always an option of a good spot. If you can find those, you can make some putts and play well."
Senior Victoria Vela rallied for a one-under 71 and is tied for 14th. The Mansfield, Texas, native turned even and then bogeyed the 13th hole. She finished strong with a birdie on the 16th and 18th holes for her 71.
"It was a great job by Victoria to birdie two of her last three holes," Estes-Taylor said. "She knows what this time of year is all about and she just goes around the golf course with a great attitude and mindset. It was a great group effort today."
Freshman Gabriela Lopez shot even par 72 while junior Emily Tubert and freshman Regina Plasencia both counted 73s. Lopez is tied for 21st, and Tubert and Plasencia are tied for 33rd overall.
Lopez, from Mexico City, Mexico, had a balanced scorecard with two birdies and two bogies on each side. Three of her four birdies came on the par five holes on four, seven and 16.
Tubert turned at one over after nine holes but she recovered with a birdie on the 12th hole returning to even par. The Burbank, Calif., native dropped a shot to one under with her third birdie of the round on the 16th hole but a double on the 17th saw her finish with a 73.
Plasencia's scorecard was quite for nine holes without a mark to open play. She bogeyed the 10th hole and finished birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey for her round of 73.
The rest of the field includes No. 29 Northwestern and No. 26 Notre dame tied for eighth with a 292, No. 31 Tennessee is 10th with 294. East Tennessee State is 11th with 297 followed by Ole Miss and host No. 42 Auburn tied for 12th with 299. Thirteenth-ranked Virginia is 14th with 300, No. 35 Kentucky, No. 50 East Carolina and No. 38 Texas State are tied for 15th with 301, Florida International is 18th with 304, Chattanooga is 19th with 309, No. 47 Penn State is 20th with 310, No. 44 UCF is 21st with 312, James Madison with 319, Eastern Kentucky with 321 and Alabama State with 335.