EUGENE, Oregon — West Coast Conference Champion No. 26 BYU teed off round one of the 2016 NCAA Championship Friday at the Eugene Country Club. In addition, Gonzaga’s Bianca Pagdanganan, the 2016 WCC Co-Freshman of the Year played in the first NCAA national round in program history.
Behind a 2-under-par 70 performance by Alexandra White, BYU women's golf posted a 6-over-par round of 294 to claim 11th place after the first round of the NCAA Championships on Friday at Eugene Country Club.
"We came ready to play today and I thought we got off to a great start," BYU head coach Carrie Roberts said. "Our back nine was really challenging and we just hung in there and played tough. The course played long today. There wasn't a lot of wind, but I think the cool air and some of the pin placements were a little tricky. Overall, I thought we handled it well."
White got off to an impressive start with birdies on the first two holes before making the turn with a 1-under-par 34. Despite difficult pin placements, White stuck four of her five birdies on the day within a foot of the cup to set up easy tap-ins. The junior birdied the 10th, 11th and 16th holes on the Cougars front nine before carding two more birdies on holes 8 and 9 to close out her round. White is tied for 11th place, individually.
"Alex played really well today with a solid 70," Roberts said. "Obviously Kendra Dalton also played super again today. Her play has been solid, which is huge for us. I was also proud of Brooklyn who finished the day with a solid 75. Honestly, it was a real team effort."
Dalton shot even par and is tied for 29th place.
Brooklyn Hocker posted a 3-over-par 75 in today's opening round and sits in 69th place. Senior captain Lea Garner carded a 5-over-par 77, while Rose Huang rounded out the scoring for the Cougars with an 81.
BYU women's golf is in sole possession of 11th place after the first round of the NCAA Championships. The Cougars sit just one shot behind three teams (Virginia, Ohio State, South Carolina) tied for eighth place at five-over-par. Oklahoma State is in first place with an opening round 284, followed by UCLA (286), Washington (289), USC (289) and Arizona (291) rounding out the top five
Gonzaga freshman Bianca Pagdanganan became the first golfer in school history to compete for a national championship Friday, playing the first round of the NCAA Championships at Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore.
Pagdanganan saw a bit of a slow start by bogeying the first three holes, but on the par-5 fourth, she leveled out for her first par of the round. The freshman went on to par each of the next five holes, making the turn to the back nine at 3-over 40.
"Bianca was clearly anxious for the first few holes," said Gonzaga women's golf head coach Brad Rickel. "Her swing was quick, and she could not find her tempo. She continued to battle after those three bogies and fought for every stroke for the next five or six holes, making some amazing par saves."
After pars on each of the 10th and 11th holes, Pagdanganan saw her first birdie of the day on No. 12, knocking her approach shot to within a few feet of the stick and sinking the ensuing putt. She followed up with another par on the 13th hole, but consecutive bogeys on Nos. 14 and 15 moved her to four above par on the round. She briefly got back to three-over with a birdie on the par-5 17th but bogeyed her final hole of the day. In all, she counted 76 strokes, four shots above par.
BYU women’s golf will continue play at the NCAA Championships, Saturday. The 2016 WCC champions are scheduled to tee off at 1:06 p.m. PST. Pagdanganan is set to open her second round at 8:25 a.m.