Jayhawks have shaky start at NCAA women’s golf championship

05/20/2014 10:01 PM

06/03/2014 10:17 AM

The bad news for the Kansas Jayhawks is they are in last place. The good news is it’s only round one.

KU finished in 24th place after the first round of the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship at Tulsa Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.

Thanks in large part to eight double bogeys or worse, the Jayhawks shot a 33-over-par 313 on Tuesday. The front nine was especially troubling.

“We got off to a pretty shaky start,” KU coach Erin O’Neil said. “Took a few too many doubles (bogeys) on the front nine. Might have been a little bit of nerves. The wind compounded that, made some bad shots look worse, had a couple of bad breaks here and there.”

Junior Minami Levonowich had the best scorecard on the team, shooting a 4-over 74. She was steady throughout the round and displayed good patience and commitment to her shots.

“She played great all day,” O’Neil said. “Every time I saw her, made good pars, made good putts, just played great all day. She did a good job of staying patient and (going) with the flow.”

Senior Thanuttra Boonraksasat shot a 76 to place second best on the team. Meghan Potee was third after shooting an 80. Yupaporn Kawinpakorn finished with an 83 and Pornvipa Sakdee managed an 89.

The wind was a factor all day. Gusts averaging 25 mph frustrated the athletes. The conditions got under the skin of KU’s golfers.

“I think the wind kind of messed up our minds,” Levonowich said. “We weren’t sure what to hit a lot of times.”

Despite struggling with the conditions, the golfers’ confidence about improving their standing hasn’t wavered.

“I feel like as a team, we are very good at making strong comebacks,” Levonowich. “We have really good players and I know we are going to come back. I have full confidence in us.”

KU made a comeback just to get to the NCAA Championship. The Jayhawks were tied for 16th after the first day of the NCAA Central Regional in Stillwater, Okla. They were in 10th after the second day and finished tied for fifth, making the cut of being a top-eight team to advance.

The regional was only 10 days ago, and O’Neil said it’s helped the team cope with the disappointing start to the championship.

“That’s a good confidence builder,” O’Neil said. “We now have played the course three times, definitely learned a lot today. To do and what not to do. We’ll have an even better game plan going into tomorrow, do our best and see what happens.”

Levonowich said she knew big numbers were going to happen with the course.

“I think we are all a little shaky, but this is a tough field so it’s bound to happen,” Levonowich said. “I still think we are in a good spot. We still have a lot of golf to go. I’m confident.”

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