Leader: Arizona State (9-over 297)
Individual leader: Thea Hoffmeister, Purdue; Kendra Little, Oregon (2-under 70)
The top 8: 2. Arizona State (297); 3. USC (299); 3. Purdue (303); T-4 Oregon, Oklahoma State (305); 6. New Mexico (306); 7. Florida State (308); T-8. Ole Miss, Kent State (309).
Close behind: 10. Michigan State (310), T-11. Denver (312), T-11. Georgia (312), 13. Louisville (315)
And the last shall be first: Thea Hoffmeister played in the fifth spot for the Boilermakers but matched the day’s lowest round with a 2-under 70 at Otter Creek Golf Course in Columbus, Ind. Hoffmeister said the pin position on the first hole was “almost illegal” because the slope was so slippery. But when she drained a 4-footer from behind the hole, it gave her a tremendous boost for the rest of the day. The German drained five birdie putts, all from within 8 feet.
“I had butterflies in my stomach yesterday, I just really wanted to play,” she said. “I’ve got my enjoyment back.”
Hoffmeister carried the Boilermakers, who are playing two hours from their West Lafayette campus. Freshman Laura Gonzalez, fresh off her Big Ten title, shot 78, as did Maude-Aimee LeBlanc. Numa Gulyanamitta (77) hit only five greens.
“My irons were really bad,” Gonzalez said. “I put myself in a lot of trouble.”
Still, Purdue sits comfortably in third place. The Boilermakers are one of four teams that have qualified for the NCAA Championship every year since 2000. Those joining Purdue on that elite list are ASU, Duke and Southern Cal.
The bigger picture: New Mexico began the NCAA Central Regional playing for something more than a ticket to Wilmington, N.C. Lobos coach Jill Trujillo’s mother died last Friday so she, understandably, didn’t make the trip to Columbus, Ind.
“We’re all so close,” said New Mexico senior Jodi Ewart. “We’re out here for Jill and her mother, using it as extra motivation rather than added pressure.”
The Lobos, seeded seventh here, opened the Central Regional in sixth place. First-year assistant coach Becky Dover is acting as head coach, while recent New Mexico grad Mikaela Backstedt serves as assistant. Dover played softball for New Mexico and graduated in ’07.
Ouch … : Yesterday, Denver’s Ellie Givens played a practice round with an air cast on her right leg. Today she took the cast off because it made it difficult to bend down to read putts, but was icing her leg after a 79. The junior from England doesn’t know how she got a stress fracture down the front of that leg, but after NCAA’s she’ll have to use crutches for 6 to 8 weeks before finding out if surgery is needed.
Meanwhile, ASU’s Jaclyn Sweeney looked like a walking art project with all the black tape going down her right leg. After Pac-10’s Sweeney found out her right kneecap was shifting due to a buildup of fluid. Sweeney said the magnetic tape was on back order because it’s in such high demand for the NBA and NHL playoffs.
“Advil is the best thing for it,” she said.
Quote of the day: “She says the things she needs to – not too much, not too little – exactly what you need to hear.” – Oregon junior, and first-round co-leader, Kendra Little on Ducks first-year coach Ria Quiazon. The Ducks are trying to qualify for the NCAA Championship first time since 2000 and are currently tied for fourth.