Milligan, Sooners off to strong start in ASU Ping Invite

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Facing its toughest competition of the season, Oklahoma women’s golf sits in third place after the first round of the ASU Ping Invitational. The 22nd-ranked Sooners are two strokes out of first place after carding a 1-over 289 at the par-72, 6,430-yard Papago Golf Club in Phoenix, Ariz.

The loaded 14-team field features nine top-25 teams, including three in the top five of the latest Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings. No. 3 Stanford leads the event with a 1-under 287.

Sophomore Kaitlin Milligan led the Sooners with a bogey-free round of 4-under 68 – the second lowest round among the 86 competitors. The Norman native is one stroke behind individual leader Andrea Lee of Stanford – the nation’s top-ranked collegiate golfer according to the Golfstat rankings.

Senior Julienne Soo fought back from 3-over on the front nine to end her round with three consecutive birdies. The hot finish brought her round score to an even 72 and helped the Sooners climb up the leaderboard late in the day. The senior is tied for 15th place.

“Today was a great example why you never give up and always fight,” said OU head coach Veronique Drouin-Luttrell. “We finished our round really strong.”

Freshman Mikhaela Fortuna produced three birdies over her final 12 holes to sit in a tie for 22nd place at 73.

Sophomore Hannah Lee shot a 76  while freshman Libby Winnans fired a 78.

Oklahoma hits the course for the second of three rounds on Saturday, teeing off the front nine at 11:30 a.m. CT. The Sooners will be paired in the top group with golfers from Arizona State and Stanford.

A bogey-free, 2-under back nine from Oklahoma State golfer Lianna Bailey has the freshman just outside the top 10.

Bailey matched her best round in an OSU uniform, an even par 72, and will enter Saturday’s second round tied for 15th place.

That mark paced the Cowgirls, who are tied with New Mexico for 11th place and just 13 strokes behind No. 4 Stanford for the lead.

Sophomore Emma Whitaker and freshman Sara Camarena had solid days, and finished the opening round at 3-over 75 and in a tie for 42nd.

Chih-Min Chen, the lone Cowgirl senior, is in a tie for 63rd after shooting a 5-over 77, while Han-Hsuan Yu and Michelle Forsland are both tied for 67th place after carding an opening round 6-over 78.

The Cowgirls will return to the Papago Golf Course on Saturday morning to play the second round of the PING/ASU Invitational.


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Ken MacLeod

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