LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech benefited from its knowledge of The Rawls Course on Monday as the Lady Raiders opened the NCAA Lubbock Regional in a tie for third place following an 8-over-par 296 first round.
The Lady Raiders, who are tied with top-seed UCLA in third place, trail first-day leader Arizona State by three strokes and are two back of second-place Oregon heading into Tuesday’s second round. Tech needs to finish among the top six teams over the final 36 holes in order to advance to the NCAA Championships.
Tech benefited from a strong start but possibly capped the round with an even better finish as the Lady Raiders finished 3-under over their final three holes. Cara Barker had two of Tech’s three birdies during that stretch, both of which came over the two par-5s that closed the round. Mami Yamamoto added Tech’s other birdie at the 17th.
“I’m so proud of our team for how they finished,” Tech head coach JoJo Robertson said. “It was a great start. We were 5-under through five holes and kind of hit a slow point in the round when we made the turn. The way they finished was incredible. We just need to stay strong and get better every day.”
Tech benefited from seven birdies on the front nine, three of which that came from Sofia Garcia, who led the Lady Raiders with an even-par 72 in her first NCAA Regional appearance. Garcia enters the second round in a tie for seventh on the individual leaderboard, four-strokes back of first-day leader Lilia Vu of UCLA.
Gabby Barker had a similar successful round with a 1-over card that featured an eagle at the par-5 2nd as well as a birdie on the No. 7 hole. She pared eight of the final nine holes to end her day in a tie for 12th individually.
“Our first day is always the rough start so we’re always trying to fight back the second and third day,” Barker said. “Putting ourselves in a good position for the next two days I think is going to help us.”
Cara Barker, meanwhile, took advantage of The Rawls Course’s four par-5 holes as she was the only player in the 18-team field to record a birdie on all four. Her birdies at both the 17th and 18th helped her close the opening 18 holes in a tie for 36th place following a 4-over card.
Yamamoto added Tech’s final contributing score with a 3-over round that placed her in a tie for 26th overall. Lauren Mason chipped in an 8-over round as well.
The Lady Raiders will be paired with both Oregon and Arizona State during Tuesday’s second round as Mason will lead off Tech’s lineup with a 9:50 a.m. start from the No. 1 tee box. Coverage of each of the final two rounds can be found via the live scoring function at Golfstat.com as well as on social media by following @TexasTechWGolf on Twitter.