April 17, 2014
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Seton Hall came into the 2014 BIG EAST Women's Golf Championships presented by NEW YORK LIFE looking for that big breakthrough moment.
So far so good after 18 holes.
The fourth-year program owns a three-stroke advantage on Georgetown to top the team leaderboard after the first round of competition on the Hills Course at the LPGA International. The winning team earns the BIG EAST's automatic berth to the NCAA Championships.
Seton Hall's combined score of 314 (+26) is just ahead of the Hoyas' 317 (+29), while St. John's is third with a 31-over 319. Xavier sits fourth with a score of 322 (+34), narrowly in front of fifth-place Creighton (323, +35) and Butler (327, +39) to round out the six-team field.
In the race for the individual crown, last year's top returner Harin Lee of St. John's owns a two-shot lead over Georgetown's Jenny Xiao. Lee carded a 2-over-par 74, with Xiao shooting a 76. There's a three-way tie for third in the individual standings with Xavier's Gracie Howie, St. John's Anna Kim and Seton Hall's Erin McClure all sitting at 5-over 77.
Lee claimed the 2011 individual championship as a freshman.
The par-72 Hills Course played longer than its advertised 6,176 yards on Thursday. Players faced gusty breezes that became stronger as the round went on. By the time all players had wrapped up in mid-afternoon, sustained winds topped 20 miles per hour with some gusts hitting 30.
Unfortunately, the forecast for Friday is not promising. Because of wet and potentially stormy weather, the second round has been pushed up 15 minutes to a 7:45 a.m. ET shotgun start. Groups and tee assignments are listed at the bottom of this release.
As the first round neared completion, St. John's and Seton Hall found themselves running neck and neck, with Georgetown having finished its rounds and lurking in the rearview mirror. All five Pirate golfers avoided trouble and shot par on the par-4, 340-yard 18th hole for a steady finish. St. John's lost ground when Lee bogeyed No. 18 and Kim carded a triple-bogey 7.
Lurking behind the top five in the standings are Seton Hall's Alison Kruse and Butler's Jenna Peters, who are tied for sixth after carding matching 6-over 78s. Peters shot 4-over during a four-hole stretch around the turn but steadied her play to an even-par effort over the last seven.
Mackenzie Boydston joins Xiao in the top 10 to buoy the Hoyas to their second-place standing. Boydston was the only player to sink consecutive birdies on the day and finished with a 7-over 79 after going birdie-birdie on 17 and 18.
Creighton, which is making its first appearance at the BIG EAST Championships along with Butler and Xavier, was led by Kelsey Peterson and Grace Yowell, who both shot 8-over-par 80s Thursday.
Friday's Tee Assignments - 7:45 a.m. ET (approx.) shotgun start
Hole 1: Megan McCambridge (Butler); Katie Morel (Creighton); Abigail Smith (Xavier)
Hole 10: Harin Lee (St. John's); Jenny Xiao (Georgetown); Erin McClure (Seton Hall)
Hole 11: Anna Kim (St. John's); Mackenzie Boydston (Georgetown); Alison Kruse (Seton Hall)
Hole 12: Jennifer Neville (St. John's); Patricia Lee (Georgetown); Megan Tenhundfeld (Seton Hall)
Hole 13: Rachel Carpenter (St. John's); Alice Choi (Georgetown); Hannah Basalone (Seton Hall)
Hole 14: Stephanie Eybers (St. John's); Liz DiVincentis (Georgetown); Karlie Zabrosky (Seton Hall)
Hole 15: Jenna Peters (Butler); Grace Yowell (Creighton); Grace Howie (Xavier)
Hole 16: Isabella Lambert (Butler); Kelsey Petersen (Creighton); Ariel McNair (Xavier)
Hole 17: Nicole Johnson (Butler); Rachel Thompson (Creighton); Shane Crutchfield (Xavier)
Hole 18: Ali Restaino (Butler); Annie Pearson (Creighton); Christine Cash (Xavier)
Team Leaderboard Through 18 Holes
1. Seton Hall - 314 (+26)
2. Georgetown - 317 (+29)
3. St. John's - 320 (+32)
4. Xavier - 321 (+33)
5. Creighton - 324 (+36)
6. Butler - 327 (+39)
Individual Top 10 Through 18 Holes
1. Harin Lee, St. John's - 74 (+2)
2. Jenny Xiao, Georgetown - 76 (+4)
t3. Grace Howie, Xavier - 77 (+5)
t3. Anna Kim, St. John's - 77 (+5)
t3. Erin McClure, Seton Hall - 77 (+5)
t6. Jenna Peters, Butler - 78 (+6)
t6. Alison Kruse, Seton Hall - 78 (+6)
t8. Mackenzie Boydston, Georgetown - 79 (+7)
t8. MEgan Tenhundfeld, Seton Hall - 79 (+7)
t10. Kelsey Petersen, Creighton - 80 (+8)
t10. Grace Yowell, Creighton - 80 (+8)
t10. Hannah Basalone, Seton Hall - 80 (+8)
t10. Ariel McNair, Xavier - 80 (+8)