LINCOLN, Neb. - The third-ranked California women's golf team takes a commanding 11-shot lead into Saturday's final round of the NCAA Central Regional at the Firethorn Golf Club. The Golden Bears, which hold the top seed in the 21-team regional, led by six shots after Friday's opening round with a 292 and finished the day at plus-16 584. Kent State is second at 595, while fourth-ranked Texas and Texas A&M are tied for third at 605.
After the tournament was postponed a day due to rain, teams were forced to play 36 holes Friday. The Bears are competing in their fourth-consecutive NCAA regional and are looking to win what might be an NCAA record seven tournaments in a season. The 2003 Pac-10 team champion, Cal also is in search of its third consecutive team title.
Senior Vikki Laing, the 2003 Pac-10 individual champion, led Cal in each round and finished the day atop the leaderboard with a one shot lead at minus-2 140. Her opening round of 69 coupled with her afternoon score of 71 propelled Laing to a tie for the school 36-hole record with her junior teammate, Sarah Huarte.
Wisconsin's Katie Connelly is in second at 141, and Texas A&M's Nicole Melton is third at 143. Sarah Huarte is in a three-way tie for fourth at plus-3 145 on the par-71 course.
Cal junior Claire Dury also finished the first day on a high note, tying for 12th at 148. Freshman Sophia Sheridan is tied for 30th at 152, and senior Ria Quiazon is tied for 81st after rebounding from a morning round of 85 with a respectable 76.
The third and final round tees off Saturday at 8 AM CT with a shotgun start. The top 8 teams in each of the three regionals advance to the NCAA Championships May 20-23 in West Lafayette, Ind.
NCAA Central Regional
Firethorn Golf Club (par 71, 6033 yards)
After Two of Three Rounds
TEAM SCORES (PAR 284/568)
1. California 584 (292-292), 2. Kent State 595, 3t. Texas 605, 3t. Texas A&M 605, 5. Oklahoma 606, 6. Missouri 607, 7. Florida 608, 8. Wisconsin 609, 9. Nebraska 610, 10. Tulsa 611, 11. Purdue 612, 12. Kansas State 613, 13. TCU 617, 14. New Mexico 618, 15. Indiana 620, 16. Michigan State 621, 17. Baylor 622, 18. Arkansas 625,19. Tennessee 627, 20. Yale 654, 21. Southern 715.
TOP FIVE INDIVIDUALS (PAR 71/142)
1. Vikki Laing (Cal) 140 (69-71), 2. Katie Connelly (Wisconsin) 141, 3. Nicole Melton (Texas A&M), 4t. Sarah Huarte (Cal) 145 (73-72), 4t. Christine Boucher (Kansas State) 145, 4t. Lisa Meldrum (Oklahoma) 145.