STILLWATER, Okla. — Georgia’s Jillian Hollis fired a 3-under 69 in the opening round of the 2018 NCAA Women’s Golf Championships on Friday. Hollis is in third place on the individual leaderboard, four shots off the pace of Wake Forest’s Jennifer Kupcho at Oklahoma State’s Karsten Creek Golf Club.
“Again, Jillian just played really solid from first tee ball to the last putt,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “She had a lot of really good birdie looks. When she happened to miss a green, it is was in correct spot. She just continues the amazing year she’s having and has put herself in a great position.”
Hollis teed off from No. 10 and played the back half of the course first on Friday. After opening with a par, she birdied the par-3 No. 11 and then registered six more pars. A birdie-4 at No. 18 pushed Hollis to 2-under the day. She immediately birdied No. 1 after the turn to descend to 3-under before posting eight consecutive pars.
“We were just out there having fun today,” Hollis said. “I hit pretty close (on 11), about 7-8 feet and made the putt. On 18, I had 190 into the green. I was into the wind so I was going to hit a little hybrid. The wind kicked up, and it ended up short between two bunkers. I chipped and got it up and down. On the last one, I hit this like 80-yard, 60-degree wedge. It went about 20 feet past and zipped back to the pin. I didn’t really hit a lot of greens on my second nine, but I was able to get up and down.”
Hollis notched her 17 par-or-better effort and her eighth score in 60s over 23 rounds this season.
“For her age, Jillian is one of the smartest and most mature golfers I’ve seen,” Brewer said. “She knows when to be aggressive and give herself a a chance for birdie and when missing the green and ending up 40 feet from the hole is the best play. It’s fun to watch. Really, it’s the first time I’ve watched her play this much all season. I never worry about her so I rarely see much of her round. I think it’s going to be an enjoyable four days to remember, following one of the best players in the world.”
Hollis will be paired with Texas A&M’s Maddie Szeryk and Houston’s Leonie Harm on Saturday. Harm fired a 71 in the opening round, while Szeryk signed for a 73. That trio will tee off from No. 1 at 9:25 am ET.
“I’m playing in the morning tomorrow, which should be good because there shouldn’t be any wind,” Hollis said. “The wind was weird today. I’d hit a great shot and the wind would kill it or take it over the green. I’ll just try to keep playing like I’m playing, maybe hit some more greens tomorrow and go low.”