Cowgirls in second as Hinson-Tolchard leads, Tulsa 26th in NCAA Championship

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – No. 20 Oklahoma State women’s golf combined to shoot an 8-under 280, its lowest total ever recorded at the NCAA Championship, to surge into second after the first round of the NCAA Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club on Friday. Individually, Maddison Hinson-Tolchard holds the solo lead following her 6-under 66, which is also the best score ever by a Cowgirl at the NCAA Championship.

The Tulsa women’s golf team finished the opening round in 26th place with a score of 301.

The Cowgirls teed off with the first group of the day and used the calm weather to their advantage, sinking a field-best 24 birdies throughout the round. As field concluded its rounds throughout the afternoon, OSU’s 8-under score stood firm as one of the best among the field.

Second-seeded Wake Forest finished just ahead Oklahoma State at 9-under, while Georgia and South Carolina both trail the Cowgirls by six shots in a tie for third.

“They made a lot of birdies today, which, on a course like this, is huge,” said OSU coach Greg Robertson. “Really eliminated a lot of mistakes too, because the course setup being firm and fast, we had to play some good golf. Smart golf.”

With her record-breaking round, Hinson-Tolchard heads into Saturday with a 1-stroke edge over the field. The reigning Big 12 Player of the Year utilized her scoring opportunities, shooting 3-under on par-5 holes and carding seven birdies, tied for most in the field.

Hinson-Tolchard’s first round was just one stroke shy of matching her career-best score of 65 set back in October at the Illini Invitational. Additionally, she has now played 57 consecutive rounds in which her score counted towards the overall team score.

On the season, the junior boasts six top-10 outings alongside her victory at the Big 12 Championship in late April.

“It was awesome,” Hinson-Tolchard said. “I had no idea. It was a great way to start the week. Hopefully it propels me into the rest of the week. Just going to keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully go low again.”

Not to be outdone, Rina Tatematsu landed in a tie for third after signing off on a 4-under 68. The junior found her stride quickly on the front nine, dropping four birdies between the second and sixth holes.

Tatematsu’s 68 is her lowest round of 2023 and best since notching a third round 66 at the Schooner Fall Classic in September. She has finished top-10 twice this season and is looking for the first tournament win of her junior campaign.

Clemence Martin recorded a steady even-par round in her first career appearance at the NCAA Championship en route to a tie for 36th. The sophomore is looking to continue her strong postseason play on Saturday, having finish tied for third at both the Big 12 Championship and NCAA San Antonio Regional.

Thitaporn Saithip and Han-Hsuan Yu both finished the day tied for 66th with a pair of 2-over 74 rounds.

Saithip recorded four birdies on the back nine to stabilize her day and has now played 15 counting rounds in a row. Meanwhile, Yu’s 74 is her second-lowest round of the 2023 postseason.

After missing the 54-hole cut in 2022, Oklahoma State is aiming to return to match play for the first time since 2021 when it finished as National Runner-Up.

Oklahoma State is scheduled to tee off for the second round tomorrow at 1:52 p.m. CT alongside Arizona and Virginia.

Tulsa struggled in its first trip to the NCAA Championship since 2007-08 and is tied with No. 5-ranked Mississippi State heading into second round action on Saturday.

Tulsa sophomore Sydney Seigel, playing on the course in her hometown of Scottsdale, carded a 1-over par score of 73 and sits in 51st place after the first 18 holes. Seigel was 1-under after nine holes with her lone birdie on the par-5 7th hole, while she bogeyed two holes on the back nine, No. 10 and 15.

Senior Lilly Thomas scored a round of 3-over par 75 for 90th place. Tulsa’s freshmen Grace Kilcrease and Jenni Roller turned in rounds of 76 and 77, respectively. Kilcrease sits in 106th place and Roller in 117th place.

Lovisa Gunnar opened with a score of 84.

After a tough start that saw Tulsa at 9-over par through the first three holes, the Hurricane regrouped and ended the front nine at 4-over par after shooting 7-under par over holes 6, 7, 8 and 9. On the back nine, Tulsa managed just one birdie, coming from Jenni Roller on the par-5 11th hole.As a team, Tulsa went 10-over par on the final four holes to finish the day at 13-over par.

Tulsa will tee-off in second round action on the 10th tee Saturday at 2:37 pm (CT).

The field will be trimmed to 15 teams after Sunday’s third round, while those 15 teams will compete on Monday with the top eight finishers advancing to match play competition beginning Tuesday (May 23).

Quarterfinal and semifinal play will commence on Tuesday with the championship match to be played on Wednesday (May 24).

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Ken MacLeod

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