UVA in 16th Place at NCAA Championships After 36 Holes

UVA women’s golfAfter being sidelined by weather on Saturday, the No. 17 Virginia women’s golf team returned to action Sunday for the second round of the NCAA Championships at The Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark. The Cavaliers improved on their first-round score by seven strokes, shooting 15-over 307, and finished the round in 16th place.

Because of Saturday’s weather delay, the stroke-play portion of the tournament has been shortened to 54 holes. Follow Monday’s third round, the top eight teams will advance to the match play portion of the tournament. The NCAA individual champion will also be crowned Monday.

Senior Anna Redding (Concord, N.C.) had a strong performance on her back nine to lead UVA during Sunday’s play. Starting on the 10th hole, Redding played her first nine holes at 2-over par. She then made birdie on hole number one, eagle on number seven and back-to-back birdies on eight and nine to finish her round at 3-under 70.

Redding is one of just 10 players in the 132-competitor field to manage an eagle during the first two rounds of play. Her 3-under 70 tied as the fifth best 18-hole score during the first two days of competition. Thanks to the strong finish, Redding enters the third round in 23rd place.

UVA sophomore Beth Lillie (Fullerton, Calif.) is in 32nd place after shooting 2-over 75 for a two-day total of 6-over 152. Freshman Riley Smyth (Cary, N.C.) shot 9-over 82 and fell back to 90th place at 159. Senior Katharine Patrick (Houston, Texas) is in 110th-place at 163 and Morgan Gonzales (Chandler, Ariz.) is 118th at 165. Gonzales, a senior, posted a score of 80 during the second round while Patrick shot 84 to be UVA’s non-counter.

“We had a difficult time recovering from a rough start today,” said UVA coach Ria Scott. By starting on hole number 10, the Cavaliers played several of The Blessings’ toughest holes early in their round. Holes 12, 14, 16 and 18 played as the four toughest according to the post-round statistics. UVA’s four counting players combined to play those four holes at 14-over par. The other 14 holes they played at 1-over par.

“We did get stronger as the round went on,” Scott said. “I was really proud of the effort and grind our team showed down the stretch. This is a very challenging golf course and they showed their competitive nature and didn’t back down.”

The top four ranked teams in the nation are grouped at the top of the tournament’s leaderboard. Third-ranked Duke finished out its second round Sunday morning and turned in the best 18-hole performance, shooting 11-under 281 on the par-73 course to take a nine-shot lead over top-ranked USC. Second-ranked Texas is in third place at 12-over 596 while fourth-ranked Arizona is tied with host school Arkansas for fourth place at 14-over 598.

Florida’s Sierra Brooks leads the field at 4-under 142, one shot ahead of Arkansas’ Maria Fassi and Arizona’s Bianca Pagdanganan.

Virginia will start its final round at 9:06 a.m. ET from the 10th tee. The Cavaliers will be paired with Washington and UCLA during the round.

Virginia is making its 11th NCAA Championships appearance in the 16-year history of the program. UVA’s best finish at the NCAAs were back-to-back fourth-place showings in 2011 and 2012. In 2016, the Cavaliers finished fifth in stroke play and lost to Washington 3-1-1 in the quarterfinals of match play. UVA was 22nd at last year’s championship.

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