Roller sets pace for Tulsa in opening round of AAC Championships
BROOKSVILLE, Fla. –– All five Tulsa golfers shot even-par or under in first-round action Monday at the 54-hole American Athletic Conference Championships for a team total of 7-under par 281 at the par-72 Southern Hills Plantation Club.
The Hurricane – with two freshmen, two sophomores and one senior – sits five strokes behind opening round leader SMU’s 276 score, while Houston (284), South Florida (284) and UCF (287) round out the top-five teams. Tulsa has four golfers among the top-10 scorers and its fifth just one stroke back in 16th place.
“If you ask the girls, we didn’t hit it particularly well today. It wasn’t our best ball striking day, but their short games were spot on. They did a really good job around the green,” said Tulsa coach Annie Young. “They were really thorough in their preparation for the tournament and that shows maturity even though we have a young group.”
Tulsa freshman Jenni Roller, a Tulsa-area golfer from Jenks and Regent Prep High School, led the Hurricane with a 3-under par score of 69 and sits in fifth place after the first 18 holes. It was Roller’s first sub-70 round in 23 rounds of collegiate golf this season.
Roller had four birdies against one bogey in one of her most consistent rounds of her freshman year.
Sophomore Sydney Seigel sits one stroke behind Roller in a sixth-place tie with a score of 2-under 70. Seigel birdied four holes – Nos. 6, 7, 15 and 17 and had bogeys on two par-5 holes, Nos. 5 and 12.
Tulsa’s Lilly Thomas and Lovisa Gunnar are in a 10th place tie after carding rounds of 1-under par 71. Thomas went 2-under on the front nine with brides at the par-4 fourth and sixth holes, while her lone bogey came on the par-4 10th hole. Gunnar had three birdies (holes 5, 12 and 17) and two bogeys (holes 7 and 14) for her one-under total.
Freshman Grace Kilcrease scored an even-par 72 for 16th place as she totaled even par for all but two holes. She bogeyed the fourth and evened her score a hole later with a birdie-putt on the par-5 fifth hole.
SMU grabbed the first-round lead behind the play of Michele Zhang and Ashley Chow, who combined to shoot 10-under par for the Mustangs. Zhang leads the individual standings with a 6-under par 66 total.
“SMU is extremely talented as are many teams in our conference, so we have to come ready to play,” Young said. “Our goal this week is to beat the golf course every day and if we can do that, we’ll have a really, really good week.”
Second round action convenes Tuesday morning with the final 18 holes scheduled for Wednesday.
- SMU 276
- Tulsa 281
T3. Houston 284
T3. South Florida 284
- UCF 287
- East Carolina 296
- Tulane 301
- Cincinnati 302
- Wichita State 303
- Memphis 304
- Jenni Roller 69 (-3)
T6. Sydney Seigel 70 (-2)
T10. Lilly Thomas 71 (-1)
T10. Lovisa Gunnar 71 (-1)
T16. Grace Kilcrease 72 (E)
- Michelle Zhang, SMU 66 (-6)
- Melanie Green 67 (-5)
T3. Ashley Chow, SMU 68 (-4)
T3. Leonor Medeiros, USF 68 (-4)
- Jenni Roller, Tulsa 69 (-3)