April 14, 2011
Litchfield Park, Ariz.
Freshman Stacey Blunt and junior Juanita Rico both shot a 74 (+2) to pace the University of Wyoming women's golf team during the first round of the Mountain West Conference Championship in sunny and warm conditions on Monday morning at the Wigwam Golf Course. The Cowgirls finished the day in seventh at 305 (+17), but are within five strokes of Colorado State, No. 43 San Diego State and New Mexico. No. 48 UNLV leads the team standings after a first-round 286 (-2) and the individual standings with Ellis Keenan's 68 (-4).
"I saw a lot of promising thing out there today from each player," UW head coach Josey Stender said. "It's kind of been the story of our season that we are missing that fourth scorer, so if we can close the gap with the fourth scorer we can make a big improvement in the team standings."
Blunt got off to a good start with a birdie on the first hole and shot an even-par 36 on the front nine, but carded bogeys on holes 11 and 15 to finish the day two above par tied for 11th. Rico's round was almost the opposite, as she finished the front nine at plus three but managed a birdie on hole 13 to finish the day with the same score and position. Senior Molly Black found some success on the front nine as well with a 37 at the turn, but three bogeys on the back nine put her at 76 (+4) for a tie for 20th. Sophomore Dana Zamprelli and redshirt junior Jenna Zamprelli rounded out UW's scorer with an 81 (+9) and 83 (+11), respectively, to sit 33rd and tied for 34th on the leaderboard.
"Stacey was very steady throughout the round and stuck with her game plan all day," Stender said. "She is hitting good shots and learning to play the course to accommodate her ball flight. Molly scrambled to shoot what she did today and struggled with her lag putts, but should be okay tomorrow. Juanita's short game was very solid during the round and she was consistent with her approach."
Competition at the MWC Championship resumes at 8 a.m. MT tomorrow. Wyoming will be paired with sixth-place New Mexico for the second round.
"Coming into this tournament, we thought the scores would be super low," Stender said. "If we continue to have the idea there are a lot of holes we can birdie, we will play well. We also need to give ourselves a break knowing there are some tough holes as well."
MWC Championship Day One Team Standings
1. No. 48 UNLV: 286 (-2)
2. No. 34 TCU: 288 (E)
3. BYU: 292 (+4)
4. Colorado State: 300 (+12)
5. No. 43 San Diego State: 301 (+13)
6. New Mexico: 303 (+15)
7. Wyoming: 305 (+17)