May 5, 2011
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (seminoles.com) - Florida State University sophomore Jessica Negron carded a three under par 69 and is in a tie for first place in the individual standings and the Seminole women's golf team is in a tie for seventh place in the team standings after the first round of the NCAA East Regional Championships on the Legends Course at LPGA International. With two rounds still to be played the Seminoles need to stay among the top eight in the team standings to advance to the NCAA Championship finals May 17-21 at the Traditions Club in Bryan, Tex., and hosted by Texas A&M University.
"It has long been said that you can't win a tournament on the first day but you can certainly lose it" said Head Coach Amy Bond. "We have given ourselves an opportunity - a good opportunity - to do well here and that's what we wanted on the first day. Jess, Macarena and Maria gained confidence today and we have to bring Hannah and Andy up to that level. I am pleased with how we played today; we have to play better tomorrow and I am confident we can do that."
No. 49 ranked Coastal Carolina is the surprise leader with a one stroke advantage over No. 3 ranked and top seeded Alabama. The Chanticleers are led by Jessica Alexander who is in a tie for first place with Florida State's Negron. Alexander leads four Coastal Carolina players in the top 20 of the individual standings.
Florida State's Negron is tied for the individual lead and was one on 10 players in the 126 player field to shoot under par on a beautifully sunny and warm day in central Florida.
Florida State, which is ranked 28th nationally, is currently ahead of three teams ranked ahead of it in the national rankings including No. 25 ranked Florida.
Negron (Ocala, Fla.) played the best round of her junior season as she carded 18 holes at par or better with three birdies. She birdied her second hole of the round and stayed under par for the remainder of the afternoon. Negron was two under par on her first nine and one under par on her back nine to finish at three under par for the afternoon. Negron's score of three under part 69 was her first round of under par golf since she shot a one under par 71 in the second round of the Kinderlou Forest Challenge in Valdosta, Ga., on Feb. 28, 2011.
"I was really pleased with my round," said Negron after coming within one stroke of tying her career low for a single round score. "I was very confident in my ball striking and I hit a lot of greens. I have played here before so I have some knowledge and experience of the golf course. Since I have been here before I had some more confidence at the beginning of the round and that confidence just grew throughout the day."
For Negron it continued a tradition of playing extremely well in the NCAA regionals and NCAA championship finals. She was in a tie for eighth place following the first round after shooting a one over par 73 at the 2011 NCAA Central Regional Championship and was seventh place after one round at the 2011 NCAA Championship finals after carding a three under par 69. Negron finished in a tied for 22nd in the individual standings at the 2011 NCAA Central Regional championships and finished in a tied for 21st place at the 2011 NCAA Championship finals.
"I think (I play better) maybe because these are bigger tournaments and we all need to play for our team to advance to the finals," said Negron. "To do well as a team we all have to play better or the season is going to be over."
Senior Macarena Silva (Santiago, Chile), who is playing in her fourth career regional championship, is in a tie for 19th place as she carded a one over par 73 over the first 18 holes. She played very consistent golf with 14 holes at par or better with three birdies. Silva birded her first hole of the round and was never more than one over par during the round.
"I was pretty consistent and carded three birdies during the round," said Silva. "I felt like I was hitting the ball well - but my putting wasn't where it needs to be. The course is great; I like the greens and the grass - it's the same grass we play on in Tallahassee."
Silva's score of 73 marked her fifth consecutive score of 75 or better and was her sixth consecutive round of 76 or better in her last three NCAA events. She finished with four scores at 76 or better during the 2011 NCAA Championship finals.
Junior Maria Salinas (Lima, Peru), who earned All-ACC honors for the first time in career last week, is in a tie for 32nd place in the individual standings with a two over par score of 74. At one point during the round she played eight straight holes at par and was even par over her final 13 holes of the round. Salinas birdied her second to last hole to move to two over par and finished the round there.
"I hit the ball really well today but the putts just didn't want to drop," said Salinas. "The weather is in our favor and we are used to the heat. The course is in perfect condition - we just need to get that fourth score to move up the scoreboard. I can feel that score coming on Friday."
Bond also knows there is room for improvement.
"We have to better tomorrow than we were today," said Bond. "In saying that I was happy for the most part with how we played today; we just have to be better tomorrow. We are a good team and we are chasing some good teams so we have to have all of our five women come to play for the next two days. If we can get that I like our chances of advancing to the championship finals."
Florida State will once again play with Colorado and TCU but will tee off in the afternoon wave at 12:00 on Friday.
"There is still so much golf to be played but I like where we are," said Bond. "Our team has worked hard to get to this point and we are not satisfied with just being here. We want to move on to the next round and compete for a national championship."
2011 NCAA East Regional Championship/Par 72/First Round Team Results Legends Course/LPGA International/Daytona Beach, Fla./May 5-7, 2011 1. Coastal Carolina 286 T11. Vanderbilt 302 2. Alabama 287 T11. TCU 302 3. California 290 15. Ole Miss 303 4. North Carolina 293 T16. UNC Wilmington 304 T5. Arizona State 295 T16. Stetson 304 T5. Purdue 295 T18. Colorado 306 T7. Michigan State 297 T18. Kentucky 306 T7. Florida State 297 20. Yale 310 9. Florida 298 21. Florida International 311 10. Louisville 301 22. Fairleigh Dickinson 312 T11. Auburn 302 23. Texas Tech 316 12. Augusta State 302 24. Alabama State 335