OCU takes lead in Sydney Cox Invitational at Lincoln Park

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City University got out to a first-round lead in the Sydney Cox Invitational on Monday at Lincoln Park Golf Course.

Oklahoma City, ranked sixth in NAIA women’s golf, held a six-stroke advantage on eighth-rated Embry-Riddle (Ariz.). The Stars’ Melissa Eldredge and Lauryn Pritchard found themselves two shots off the pace in second place.

OCU produced a 292 on the par-72, 6,005-yard course. The Stars took to Lincoln Park for the first time since finishing fourth in the NAIA Championships last May. The NAIA Championships return to Lincoln Park on May 12-15, 2020.

Four ranked teams square off this week in the tournament. Embry-Riddle carded a 298, while Bellevue (Neb.) stood in third with a 304. No. 4-ranked Cumberlands (Ky.) posted a 306, and 10th-ranked Texas Wesleyan had a 313. Bellevue is outside the top 25 receiving votes.

Eldredge, a senior from Eufaula, Okla., delivered a season-best round of 35-35–70. Eldredge buried three birdies, two on par-5 holes. Eldredge knocked in birdies on the par-5, 451-yard fifth hole and No. 16, which was 480 yards long.

Pritchard supplied OCU with her finest score of the season with a 37-33–70. Pritchard, a sophomore from Allen, Texas, sank three birdies, including birdies on No. 5 and the par-5 503-yard 13th hole.

Four Stars were among the top 10. Lauren Behnken turned in a 40-36–76 to tie for 10th. Behnken, a sophomore from Tulsa, Okla., made birdie on the 15th hole. Clair Hill tied for 10th by equaling her career-best round with a 38-38–76. Hill, a junior from Gig Harbor, Wash., dropped in two birdies, one coming on the par-5 fifth hole.

OCU’s Natalie Gough, a sophomore from Bixby, Okla., put together a 38-39–77.

The Stars’ second team shot a seventh-place 328. McKenzie McCoy, a junior from Beggs, Okla., provided OCU with a 44-35–79. Rachel Eckert, a sophomore from Bixby, Okla., tallied a 41-41–82.

Blayne Barker, a freshman from Durant, Okla., scored a 42-41–83, while Adeline Norton, a freshman from Plainview, Okla., carded a 43-41–84 for OCU. Arianna Medina, a junior from Phoenix, had a 45-43–88.

The temperature climbed from the mid-50s to the upper 70s throughout the day. Winds blew between 10-15 mph.

The final round of the inaugural Sydney Cox Invitational takes place 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at Lincoln Park Golf Course in a shotgun start.

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Ken MacLeod

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