LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech sophomore Sofia Garcia closed the opening day of the Illini Invitational two shots off the lead after a pair of under-par cards Monday at the Medinah Country Club just outside of Chicago.
Garcia ended in a tie for fourth individually after firing a 2-under 70 opening round following by a 4-under card in the afternoon session that featured all five of her birdies over the final six holes. She sank 12 birdies on the day, which led the entire 84-player field.
Garcia, who began her opening 18 holes with back-to-back birdies, will need another strong round Tuesday to close the two-shot gap between herself and leader Michaela Finn of Kent State. Finn leads both Melati Putri of Purdue and Maggie Ashmore of Augusta by one stroke for second place.
Behind Garcia, Tech closed the day in eighth place as a team as the Red Raiders combined to shoot an even 288 card in the morning before finishing two strokes better in the afternoon. Tech trails Augusta and Kennesaw State by one stroke for sixth place and San Jose State by three swings for fifth.
Purdue raced out to the opening-day lead at 19-under, which was six strokes in front of second-place Kent State. Illinois wrapped the day in third place at 11-under followed by Miami in fourth at 10-under.
Cecilie Nielsen added a strong day of her own to boost the Red Raiders as she was even over the two rounds thanks in part to a 3-under start. She will enter Tuesday's final round in a tie for 21st place. Anna Dong, meanwhile, combined to shoot 2-over to close the afternoon in a tie for 40th place, while Mami Yamamoto and Amy Taylor were both in a tie for 71st individually at 7-over for the tournament.
The final round is slated for a 9 a.m. CT shotgun start Tuesday morning. Live scoring will be provided on Golfstat.com. --TECH--