HOOVER, AL — Texas A&M’s Amber Park fired a 1-under 71, to lead the Aggie women’s golf team in the opening round of the SEC Championship.
Park had a blemish-free second nine, shooting 2-under on what is typically the front nine at Greystone Golf & Country Club. Park had several key shots with her irons—sticking shots on No. 1 and No. 2 to within 10 feet of the holes for birdies, then saving par from the pine needles on No. 9.
“I gave myself a lot of opportunities on the greens,” said Park, who shot under-par at the SEC Championship for the first time in her career. “I was able to hit it close to within 10-12 feet and I was able to make those and turn them into birdies.”
Park, who made four birdies in the first round, is tied for seventh, three strokes behind tournament leader Julie McCarthy of Auburn.
The Aggies are four strokes away from the cutoff for eighth place after an opening-round 12-over 300, in 12th place. After three rounds of stroke play, the 14-team field is cut down to eight schools for match play. In a format that mimics the NCAA Championship, teams face off in the quarterfinals and semifinals on Saturday, with the championship match covered on SEC Network on Sunday morning.
“In places we should have played a little more aggressively, because I believe this team can capitalize on some of the holes on this course,” said head coach Andrea Gaston. “The way they’ve been playing, they should be able to play more aggressively and confidently.”
“Unfortunately, we made some mistakes in places we should not have,” added Gaston. “If we can eliminate some of the big numbers, we have a chance to move up the leaderboard tomorrow.”
Florida and Auburn are the tournament co-leaders at 4-under 284.
Brooke Tyree turned a 3-over 75 in her first career round at the SEC Championship, and is tied for 36th. Ava Schwienteck navigated the par 72 / 6,274-yard course in 76 strokes to sit in the tie for 46th at 4-over.
Courtney Dow had three birdies, but ended up tied for 60th with a 6-over 78 after splashing a pair of shots on the par 3 / 150-yard second hole. Katie Finley, one of three Aggies making their SEC Championship debut, carded a 7-over 79 to tie for 63rd, but settled in nicely with an even-par 36 on her second nine.
Texas A&M tees off for the second of three stroke play rounds at 9:10 a.m. Thursday, with live scoring available on golfstat.com.