Lurgan’s Annabel Wilson enjoyed a rock-solid even par opening round as Olivia Mehaffey struggled on day one of the Sun Devil Winter Classic.
Wilson’s fellow UCLA sophomore Emma Spitz is in a share of the lead after 18 holes with the Bruins as a team in fourth place, shooting a 6-over 294 at the Talking Stick Golf Club. Wilson is three strokes back and tied for 10th on the individual leaderboard after making birdies on a trio of par-4s (eighth, 10th and 15th) and the par-5 14th, adding two bogeys and a double to her opening effort.
It’s an encouraging start for the Irish amateur star who recorded a 73.5 scoring average in seven events and 19 rounds of her first season Stateside. A two-under par 69 in round two of the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate remains her lowest round so far in a UCLA shirt but she’ll be hoping to better that performance this week to apply some pressure to college teammate Spitz. Unlike Wilson, Spitz managed to keep the bogeys off her card, making a pair of birdies on the par-5 fifth and 14th holes, ending her round with another on the par-4 18th. Her 3-under 69 puts her in a tie with two others.
Another sophomore, Emilie Paltrinieri is tied for 17th following a 1-over 73. She birdied two par-5s (fifth and seventh) to go with three bogeys. Junior Simar Singh is tied for 51st (+8, 80), recording birdies on three of the four par 5s (No. 5, 7 and 14), adding five bogeys and three doubles. Junior Phoebe Yue is 53rd (+10, 82), making a birdie on the par-4 15th, five bogeys and three doubles.
Arizona State star Olivia Mehaffey endured a rare off day in Sun Devil colours, opening with a double-bogey 6 before adding four more bogeys in a disappointing six-over par round of 78.
There was better news for Elm Park’s Anna Foster, competing for Auburn in the Moon Golf Invitational in Florida. Foster signed for 17 pars and a birdie in a superb one-under par 71 to add to her opening 74 to sit in a share of 30th at one-over ahead of the final round. For Foster, it was her first round under par at Auburn, helping the Tigers as a team into eighth through the first two rounds. The Tigers were 2-under Monday with nine combined birdies but could’ve gone lower had some more putts dropped.
“I think they put lids over the hole,” Auburn head coach Melissa Luellen said. “Beautiful ball striking by the entire crew. We don’t play in Florida, and we are having a teachable moment about grainy greens. We need to stay patient and get a few to fall early tomorrow.”
At the same event, Kanturk’s Mairead Martin (Louisville) carded rounds of 73, 73 to share 37th at two-over while Douglas’ Sara Byrne (Miami) posted rounds of 78 and 79 for a 13-over par tally.