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Michaels headlines surprises in East

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By SEAN MARTIN
Assistant Editor

BATON ROUGE, La. – An underachieving freshman and a team’s No. 5 player took the first-round lead at the NCAA Division I Women’s East Regional on Thursday, single-handedly pulling their teams to the top of the leaderboard as well.

UCLA’s Sydnee Michaels and Wake Forest’s Nannette Hill are tied for first with Louisville’s Adrienne White at 6-under 66. They weren’t the only surprises on a low-scoring first day at the University Club in Baton Rouge, La.

UCLA leads the team competition at 7-under 281, three ahead of Wake Forest and Furman, which didn’t even win its conference title and is the field’s 17th seed.

Michaels entered UCLA as one of the year’s top recruits, having qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open and advancing to the third round of the U.S. Women’s Amateur last summer. She posted top 25s in her first two starts at UCLA, but then decided to change coaches. That’s when her game went into a downward spiral.

“I saw things that I hadn’t seen before that I really needed to change to be able to go on to the next level,” Michaels said. “It was hard to stick with (the changes) but I knew it was for the best. I struggled a lot. A lot."

Michaels said things started to turn around two months ago when she tied for 12th at Texas A&M’s tournament. She also finished 15th at the Pac-10 Championship with a T-55 sandwiched in between. Thursday’s round was her best of the year by two shots.

“(Syndee) wanted to go in a different direction, but she wasn’t sure what direction to go in, so there was a lot of doubt there,” UCLA head coach Carrie Forsyth said. “Now that she’s gotten it on track she’s been able to be more focused.”

Michaels isn’t the only Bruin playing well lately. At. No. 12, UCLA is the fourth-best team in the field, according to the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, but picked up the No. 2 seed thanks to recent strong play.

The Bruins finished second to No. 1 Arizona State in their past two starts after starting the spring with a 10th- and ninth-place finish.

Wake Forest’s Hill was coming off a final-round 85 in the ACC Championship; she had to qualify for the team’s final spot for this tournament. Thursday’s 66 was her lowest of the year by three shots and only her second under 72. It was made even better because she finished four final exams Monday and Tuesday.

“All the pressure is off,” Hill said. “It was such an intense week. We’re just happy to be out here and playing.”

It showed, as Wake Forest’s 284 was its lowest opening score of the year by 13 shots, and only second under 300. The Demon Deacons also had a poor start to their spring, finishing no better than seventh in their first four starts. They recovered at the ACC Championship, though, and placed second.

Wake Forest was 35 shots behind Duke in the conference championship, but beat the Blue Devils by seven shots Thursday.

Duke – the two-time defending national champion and winner of three tournaments this spring – is tied for 10th at 3 over par. The top eight teams advance to the NCAA Division I Women’s Championship in two weeks.

Duke wasn’t the only high seed to struggle. Only two of the field’s top five teams are in the top 8.

Texas A&M had to count a 78 and is tied for 10th place with Duke. Third-seeded Auburn is in 14th.

Fourth-seeded Purdue was set to join those teams on the bottom half of the leaderboard after making the turn in 4 over par. It shot 7 under on its final nine holes, led by Christel Boeljon’s 31. The Boilermakers are in fourth despite throwing out a 74 by their top player, Maria Hernandez.

• • •

Sean Martin is a Golfweek assistant editor. To reach him e-mail [email protected]

Scores with relation to par from the first round of the NCAA Division I Women's East Regional, played May 10 at the par-72, 6,403-yard University Club in Baton Rouge, La. (Note: y-played as individual):

TEAMS
1. UCLA 281

-7 2. Wake Forest 284

-4 2. Furman 284

-4 4. Purdue 285

-3 5. Louisville 286

-2 6. Alabama 287

-1 6. Louisiana State 287

-1 8. South Carolina 290
+ 2 8. North Carolina 290
+ 2 10. Duke 291
+ 3 10. Texas A&M 291
+ 3 12. Charleston 292
+ 4 12. Florida State 292
+ 4 14. Auburn 293
+ 5 15. Virginia 295
+ 7 16. Birmingham-Southern 297
+ 9 17. Western Carolina 301
+ 13 18. North Carolina State 302
+ 14 19. South Florida 306
+ 18 20. Jacksonville State 324
+ 36 21. Jackson State 329
+ 41
INDIVIDUALS
1. Nannette Hill, Wake Forest 66

-6 1. Sydnee Michaels, UCLA 66

-6 1. Adrienne White, Louisville 66

-6 4. Kathleen Ekey, Furman 67

-5 5. Melissa Eaton, Louisiana State 68

-4 5. y-Aruka Felgueroso, Coastal Carolina 68

-4 5. Nicole Hage, Auburn 68

-4 8. Christel Boeljon, Purdue 69

-3 8. Cindy LaCrosse, Louisville 69

-3 8. Danielle McVeigh, Texas A&M 69

-3 8. Jenny Suh, Alabama 69

-3 8. Caroline Westrup, Florida State 69

-3 13. Tiffany Joh, UCLA 70

-2 13. Stephanie Oukeo, Purdue 70

-2 13. Kate Thomas, North Carolina 70

-2 16. Lauren Doughtie, North Carolina St. 71

-1 16. Anna Grzebien, Duke 71

-1 16. Lauren Hunt, North Carolina 71

-1 16. Ashley Knoll, Texas A&M 71

-1 16. Blair Lamb, Furman 71

-1 16. Theresa Paik, Furman 71

-1 16. Alexis Rather, Louisiana State 71

-1 16. Sarah Sturm, Alabama 71

-1 16. Leah Wigger, Virginia 71

-1 25. Karlin Beck, Birmingham-Southern 72

E 25. Laura Crawford, Wake Forest 72

E 25. Desiree Karlsson, Western Carolina 72

E 25. Steffi Kirchmayr, Charleston 72

E 25. y-Amanda Mathis, Mississippi St. 72

E 25. Rachel Smith, Virginia 72

E 25. Maiya Tanaka, UCLA 72

E 25. Benedicte Toumpsin, South Carolina 72

E 25. Blythe Worley, South Carolina 72

E 34. Helena Blomberg, Alabama 73
+ 1 34. Amanda Blumenherst, Duke 73
+ 1 34. Jean Chua, Wake Forest 73
+ 1 34. Myrte Eikenaar, Purdue 73
+ 1 34. Stefanie Endstrasser, Purdue 73
+ 1 34. Ashley Freeman, Texas A&M 73
+ 1 34. Hannah Jun, UCLA 73
+ 1 34. Rebecca Kuhn, Louisiana State 73
+ 1 34. Ann Laney, North Carolina 73
+ 1 34. Jennie Lee, Duke 73
+ 1 34. Megan Miller, Charleston 73
+ 1 34. Camila Mori, South Carolina 73
+ 1 34. Jenna Pearson, South Carolina 73
+ 1 34. Emily Rapp, Charleston 73
+ 1 34. Kayla Shaul, Florida State 73
+ 1 34. Maggie Simons, Wake Forest 73
+ 1 34. Whitney Simons, South Carolina 73
+ 1 51. Mandy Goins, Wake Forest 74
+ 2 51. Maria Hernandez, Purdue 74
+ 2 51. y-Lene Krog, East Carolina 74
+ 2 51. Shelley McGraw, Birmingham-Southern 74
+ 2 51. Rhea Nair, Alabama 74
+ 2 51. Fiona Puyo, Charleston 74
+ 2 51. Jill Stupiansky, Birmingham-Southern 74
+ 2 51. Alison Whitaker, Duke 74
+ 2 59. Whitney Brummett, Florida State 75
+ 3 59. Jenny Calkins, Louisville 75
+ 3 59. Corrine Carr, Furman 75
+ 3 59. Lauren Cousart, Florida State 75
+ 3 59. Malin Fryk, Western Carolina 75
+ 3 59. Laura Goodwin, Alabama 75
+ 3 59. Caroline Martens, Louisiana State 75
+ 3 59. Gennifer Mendez, South Florida 75
+ 3 59. Marisa Milligan, Auburn 75
+ 3 59. Ryann O'Toole, UCLA 75
+ 3 59. Dinah Plyler, Charleston 75
+ 3 59. Candace Schepperle, Auburn 75
+ 3 59. Margaret Shirley, Auburn 75
+ 3 72. Sydney Crane, North Carolina 76
+ 4 72. Amanda Henry, Louisville 76
+ 4 72. Christina Jones, South Florida 76
+ 4 72. Elin Mickelsson, Western Carolina 76
+ 4 72. Abigale Schepperle, Auburn 76
+ 4 72. Sally Shonk, Virginia 76
+ 4 72. Emily Street, North Carolina St. 76
+ 4 72. Carly Truitt, Virginia 76
+ 4 72. Whitney Wright, Florida State 76
+ 4 81. Jordan Hardy, Birmingham-Southern 77
+ 5 81. Katie Miller, North Carolina 77
+ 5 81. Jennifer Pandolfi, Duke 77
+ 5 81. Daniella Ronderos, South Florida 77
+ 5 81. Joanna Saleeby, North Carolina St. 77
+ 5 81. Camille Williams, Louisville 77
+ 5 87. Kandy Carland, Western Carolina 78
+ 6 87. Stephanie Derrey, North Carolina St. 78
+ 6 87. Lauren Johnson, Texas A&M 78
+ 6 87. Kim Meck, Louisiana State 78
+ 6 87. Bianca Melone, Western Carolina 78
+ 6 87. Kylene Pulley, South Florida 78
+ 6 87. Christa Spedding, Texas A&M 78
+ 6 87. Kathleen Strandberg, North Carolina St. 78
+ 6 95. Portia Abbott, Jacksonville St. 79
+ 7 95. Shasta Averyhardt, Jackson State 79
+ 7 95. Jessica Buchta, South Florida 79
+ 7 95. Manuela Tarazona, Jacksonville St. 79
+ 7 99. Sara Hunt, Birmingham-Southern 80
+ 8 100. Mirielle LaBlanc, Jackson State 81
+ 9 101. Ashley Baker, Furman 82
+ 10 101. Whitney Neuhauser, Virginia 82
+ 10 101. Lauren Ragland, Jackson State 82
+ 10 104. Alexandra Espinosa, Jacksonville St. 83
+ 11 104. Mercedes Huarte, Jacksonville St. 83
+ 11 106. Ashley Cox, Jacksonville St. 86
+ 14 107. Nikeya Peay, Jackson State 87
+ 15 WD. Melissa Irons, Jackson State

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