Kent State Women?s Golf In the Hunt After First Round of NCAA Regionals

Updated 5/6/2011
Story courtesy of Kent State Athletic Communications

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The Kent State women's golf team is in ninth place and very much in the thick of the action after the first round of the 2011 NCAA Central Regional at Warren Golf Course Thursday, thanks to some key shots by a pair of juniors.

Junior Mandi Morrow (Kent, Ohio) provided the tournament's biggest highlight on Thursday, when her six-iron on the par-3 No. 14 landed short and rolled up a speedy green and into the cup for her second-ever hole-in-one and first in collegiate play.

Morrow's ace came at a key moment for the Golden Flashes. Morrow had struggled out of the gate and was three-over through her first four holes (Kent State started Thursday from the No. 10 tee). But with the hole-in-one, Morrow moved back within one-over par. Coupled with two birdies on her final three holes, Morrow finished the day with a two-over 74 to rank 15th overall.

Matching Morrow's 74 was classmate Shamira Marshall (Macedonia, Ohio), who broke out for an impressive two-under 34 on the front nine thanks to a trio of birdies, including her 10-foot putt on the No. 6 hole in front of the Warren Clubhouse. Marshall also birdied No. 2 and No. 7 as well as No. 17 on the back nine.

Junior Mercedes Germino (Necochea, Argentina) was able to card three birdies on the back nine, starting her day with a birdie on No. 10. But two double-bogeys showed up on the back nine as she finished with a six-over 78.

Senior Sarah Bradley (Cambridge, New Zealand) was hampered by two bogeys to end her round on No. 8 and No. 9, but a birdie on No. 17 helped her finish with a 78, tied with Germino for 51st overall.

Senior Martina Gavier (Cordoba, Argentina) was on track for a solid round as her birdie on No. 11 kept her one-under through six holes. But an errant shot on No. 16 had her in trouble as she finished the back nine six strokes over through a three-hole stretch. Gavier finished with an eight-over 80.

UCLA leads through the first round with a team score of 291, four strokes in front of second-place LSU. Vying for a coveted top-eight finish to advance to the NCAA Championship in two weeks, Kent State is just two strokes out of a tie for seventh place and six strokes back of third-place Notre Dame.

Individually, two golfers posted rounds of one-under 71 on Thursday: UCLA's Ani Gulugian and Nicole Zhang of Notre Dame.

Kent State, one of 24 teams in the regional field, is looking to make its second straight trip to the NCAA Championships and fifth in the program's 13-year history.

Kent State's round on Friday will start at 12:20 p.m., teeing off from the No. 1 tee. The team's start for the final round on Saturday will be dependent upon the Golden Flashes' standing through the first two rounds.