May 19, 2004
OPELIKA, Ala. - No. 3 California shot a school-record team score of 282, vaulting the Golden Bears from 23rd to seventh place Wednesday at the NCAA Championships. However, thunderstorms caused officials to suspend play at 5:45 p.m. CT, leaving 12 teams still on the course. After the best score of any of the 24 teams so far in round two, Cal is at 15-over 591 and is likely within striking distance of the top five tomorrow.
"We didn't have a lot of time between rounds," said Cal coach Nancy McDaniel, whose team finished play at about 8 p.m. Tuesday and teed off today at 8:50 a.m. "We decided to look at our position after two rounds. To count a 76 today and shoot six-under is pretty amazing. What was real special about today was that they rebounded from yesterday. You can get into a negative spin."
Second-ranked UCLA carded a 283 and holds a one-stroke lead over top-ranked Duke -- 572 to 573. The Blue Devils fired a 284 today. Rounding out the top five are likely No. 10 Oklahoma State, the first-day leader, (incomplete second round), No. 4 Vanderbilt (582) -- playing with only four golfers -- and No. 6 Ohio State (incomplete second round). No. 13 Wake Forest is on pace to be in sixth (incomplete second round).
The Bears were able to improve their team score by 27 shots from yesterday by having three golfers shoot below par today. Sophomore Sofie Andersson fired a four-under-par 68, tying the school record and posting the best-ever round for Cal at the NCAA Championships. The Swedish national team player sandwiched six birdies between only two bogies on her first hole (the 10th) and last (the ninth) and is on pace to be in the top 10.
Cal seniors Sarah Huarte and Anna Temple finished with scores of 69 in the second round. After carding a team-best round of 73 in the opening round, Huarte is projected to be in the top five at 142. She tied Andersson with a team-high six birdies, including no bogeys and three birdies on holes 10 through 18. UCLA's Susie Matthew's is first at 140, and Vanderbilt's Sarah Jacobs is second at 141.
"Sarah has worked hard to be consistent at the national championship," said McDaniel.
Temple, who is competing in her first NCAAs along with Andersson, showed the most dramatic turnaround of any golfer today. The Berkeley product opened the tournament with a round of 84 and knocked 15 shots off her score with a near flawless effort today. She sank two birdies and notched only one bogey on the back nine (Cal's front nine today) and tallied two birdies and no bogeys on the front nine. Her 36-hole score is 153.
"Anna doing well today was huge for us," said McDaniel, whose directed the Bears to a program-best tie for 14th at NCAAs in 2003. "She teed off first today for us and got the momentum going."
Cal's fourth counting score came from senior Claire Dury, who posted a 76 (+4), four strokes better than her first round for a total of 156. Sophomore Sophia Sheridan, who entered nationals ranked 20th, still looks to find her groove. She shot a 79 today and has a two-day score of 160.
Of note, every Cal golfer birdied the par-5 fourth hole.
Cal tees off the third of four rounds tomorrow afternoon at the Grand National Lake Course. The exact tee time hadn't been announced yet but is expected to be in the afternoon.