FRANKLIN, Tenn. - The 10th-ranked Texas A&M women's golf team rallied on the back nine for an opening round 301 on Tuesday at the 2012 NCAA Women's Golf Championship at Vanderbilt Legends Club North Course.
At 13-over, the Aggies are in 17th place and trail leader No. 2 Alabama (286) by 15 strokes going into Wednesday's second round. Virginia is second with 288, No. 11 Duke is third at 289, No. 7 North Carolina is fourth with 290, while top-ranked UCLA and No. 5 Arizona State are tied for fifth at 292.
Purdue (293) and No. 6 LSU (293) are tied for seventh and are followed by Oklahoma (294), No. 21 Michigan State (296), No. 3 Southern California (297), No. 12 Colorado (297), No. 22 Texas (297), No. 23 North Carolina State (299), No. 17 Baylor (299) and No. 14 Tennessee (300).
Trailing A&M is No. 18 South Carolina (302), No. 13 Florida (302), Arkansas (303), No. 16 Ohio State (303), No. 19 Pepperdine (306), No. 8 Vanderbilt (306) and Stanford (309). Virginia's Portland Rosen leads the field individually with a 6-under 66.
Paced by sophomore Katerina Ruzickova's 73, A&M was 10-over through the first nine holes, but was only 3-over on the final nine. Ruzickova turned 2-over, but with a single bogey and birdies on 11 and 16, she was 1-under on the back nine to finish tied for 27th at +1.
"For the most part, it was a decent day," A&M head coach Trelle McCombs said. "We got started a little slow, which put us in a hole from the very start, but when we made the turn we made a couple birdies and it kind of gave us a little momentum on the back. I definitely think the back side was better for us than the front, but there is tomorrow. There's three more days actually. We always think of it as a marathon, not a sprint."
Sophomore Natalie Reeves is tied for 47th with a 3-over 75. Freshman Patricia Garcia carded a 4-over 76 and is tied for 70th. Junior Mary Michael Maggio's 5-over 77 positioned her in a tie for 85th while junior Sarah Beth Davis shot an 83 and is tied for 124th.
"Kat played solid all day, but there were a lot of good things from all the players, even Sarah Beth who didn't play her best," McCombs added. "I commended her on her patience. Mary Michael hit 15 greens today and shot 77, so there are obviously some good things happening out there. If we just clean up things a bit, I think we'll be fine."
The Aggies will play alongside LSU and host Vanderbilt again for Wednesday's second round. A&M's first tee time is at 8:28 a.m. (CT) from the 10th tee. Play continues through Friday and live scoring can be found at NCAA.com. Also follow the Aggies with live updates on Twitter @AggieWomensGolf.
"I'm looking for us to get started a little better and get out of the gates a little faster tomorrow," McCombs said.