FAYETTEVILLE, Ark — Maria Fassi birdied two of her final three holes, while Kaylee Benton finished with a birdie leading the 10th-ranked University of Arkansas into a tie for first-place after round one of the 2019 NCAA Women’s Golf Championship at Blessings Golf Club on Friday.
Fassi played her way to a T2 with a 1-under 72 on the par 73, 6,397-yard course with Benton, who was celebrating her birthday, 1-over with a 74 to finish T5 after round one.
The duo paced Arkansas to a 10-over 302 and a tie for the lead with No. 2 Texas after first round action. Two shots back at 12-over are No. 4 Arizona and No. 7 Stanford with a 304, followed by No. 3 Duke at 305 to round the top-5 team scores.
Freshman Brooke Matthews was steady all day and finished T19 shooting a 76 while senior Dylan Kim finished T67 with an 80. Ximena Gonzalez rounds out Arkansas’ scores with an 88.
A Late Start
The morning flight got backed up early in the round on Friday. As a result, Arkansas had about a 45-minute delay in its afternoon start time. The 6,397-yard course was challenging in and of itself, but hot temperatures and strong winds were also factor’s in Friday’s scores.
Arkansas finished the round with 55 pars (second most), and 10 birdies (T8). Fassi had 12 par holes and four birdies while Benton led the field led the field playing the par-4s 2-under for the day. Fassi was one of only four players who were under par for the day.
Arkansas tees off at 8:06 a.m. playing with Florida and Auburn and starting on the No. 10 tee. Teams will play a third round of stroke play on Sunday before cutting the 24-team field to 15 teams. The individual stroke play champion will be crowed on Monday and the low eight teams move on to match play Tuesday and Wednesday.