May 6, 2004
NORMAL, Ill. - The fourth-seeded New Mexico women's golf team is tied for first place at the NCAA Central Regional Championships hosted by Illinois State University after shooting a 14-over 298 during the first day of competition Thursday afternoon at the par-71, 6,108-yard University Golf Course. The Lobos, who are tied with third-seeded Vanderbilt, need to place in the top eight at the three-day event to advance to the NCAA Championships May 18-21 in Auburn, Alabama.
Individually, junior Kailin Downs and freshman Ashley Rollins each fired a 2-over 73 to stand in a tie for fifth place. Downs (36-37) shot even-par through her first 15 holes before bogeying two of the last three holes to end her round. The round of 73 is Downs' best career showing at the NCAA Regional Championships - her previous best round was a 75.
Rollins carded a 40 on the front nine, but shot a blazing 33 on the back nine, including three straight birdies on holes No. 10-12. She also shot a birdie on the 17th.
Senior Katrina Leckovic and sophomore Christine Fernandez also posted identical scores, carding a 5-over 76. Leckovic (38-38) and Fernandez (40-36) are both tied for 23rd place. Junior Shannon Johnson is in a tie for 70th after shooting a 10-over 81.
The Lobos and Commodores are the highest seeded teams in the Central Regional field, which is comprised of 21 teams. The top 15 teams in the nation are split into the three regionals; No. 9 Arizona, No. 10 Southern California, and No. 15 Oklahoma are the other nationally-seeded teams in the Central Regional.
Erica Blasberg of Arizona and Kyla Neal of Texas A&M each shot a 3-under 68 to sit atop the individual leaderboard.
The NCAA Central Regional Championships will continue tomorrow and finish on Saturday. Live stats of the tournament are available at www.GolfStat.com and www.Redbirds.org.
TOP EIGHT TEAMS AFTER DAY ONE
T1. New Mexico 298 (+14) T1. Vanderbilt 298 (+14) 3. Arizona 299 (+15) 4. Southern California 300 (+16) 5. Michigan State 302 (+18) 6. Missouri 303 (+19) T7. Purdue 305 (+21) T7. Texas A&M 305 (+21)