TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Paced by scores in the 60s from juniors Jillian Hollis and Rinko Mitsunaga, Georgia fired a 1-under 287 in the opening round at the Tallahassee Regional of the NCAA Women’s Golf Championships on Monday. The Bulldogs are in eighth place at the Don Veller Seminole Golf Course but just two shots away from a three-way tie for fourth.
“It’s just nice to get day one under our belt,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “It’s a three-day journey out there. We are still learning the golf course, and we’ll need to learn more tomorrow. We have a lot of confidence and are in a great position heading into day two.”
Hollis and Mitsunaga signed for a 68 and a 69, respectively. The Bulldogs also counted a 74 from Gabriela Coello and a 76 from Isabella Skinner and dropped Paula Near Garcia’s 77.
“Our two junior All-Americans did exactly what they should do on the first day of an NCAA Regional,” Brewer said. “They combined to shoot 7-under. It shows our other players they can do the same thing.”
The Bulldogs started slow, playing the first four holes at six over. Georgia notched a trio or birdies at No. 4 and then played No. 8-10 at 7-under to move to 4-under on the day. After another rough patch of 7-over over the next six holes, Georgia covered No. 17 and No. 18 at 4-under as a team.
“I think there was a lot of excitement of playing in an NCAA Regional,” Brewer said. “We started a little slow, but we rebounded really well and made a lot of birdies. This golf course gives you birdies in spots. You just have to go ahead and make them and don’t be scared to make three or four in a row. We did that.”
On the individual leaderboard, Hollis is in sixth place, five shots of the pace of Washington’s Wenyung Keh. Mitsunaga is tied for seventh, Coello is tied for 42nd, Skinner is tied for 61st and Neira Garcia is tied for 73rd.
No. 15 Washington shot 15-under 273 to grab the team lead. No. 7 Furman is second at 280, followed by No. 2 Alabama at 282, No. 18 Wake Forest, Clemson and Tennessee all at 285, Florida State at 286, the Bulldogs at 287, No. 22 Vanderbilt at 289 and No. 10 Arizona at 290. There is a five-shot gap between the Wildcats and the rest of the field.
Hollis began her day with four pars before birdies at No. 5, No. 9 and No. 10 pushed her to 3-under. She gave one of those strokes back with a bogey at No. 11. Hollis knocked down a 50-foot eagle putt at No. 15 to move to 4-under. After her second bogey of the day at No. 16, she birdied No. 17 and finished with a par.
“I was able to reach all the par-5s in two, and that was helpful,” Hollis said. “I made a really good eagle putt coming in. I had about 210 to the green and it was uphill. There was a tree about 130 out and I had a really weird lie. My plan was to take my hybrid and hook it around the tree. It ended up coming out lower but it hooked on the same line and it rolled up there. I murdered that putt, and it hit the hole.”
Mitsunaga bogeyed No. 1 and No. 3 but moved into red numbers with a trio of birdies at No. 4, No. 5 and No. 9. After a bogey at No. 11, Mitsunaga finished strong with birdies at No. 14, No. 17 and No. 18.
“I started out a little rough with two bogeys,” Mitsunaga said. “It just took a bit to get back into it after Finals. We haven’t been golfing as much because we’ve been studying. I birdied 4 and 5, and I think that kickstarted everyone. Today was the first day. We’re in good shape. We’re only going to get better from here.”
The Bulldogs will be paired with FSU and Vanderbilt in Tuesday’s second round, teeing off in waves from 8:00-8:40 a.m. Live scoring is available at golfstat.com. The Tallahassee Regional features 18 teams competing for six spots in the field for the NCAA Championships on May 18-23 in Stillwater, Okla.
NCAA Tallahassee Regional
Don Veller Seminole Golf Course & Club
Par 72; 6342 Yards
Monday’s First-Round Standing
Wake Forest 285
Florida State 286
Kennesaw State 296
Coastal Carolina 309
Wenyung Keh, Washington 63
Natalie Srinivasan, Furman 65
Lauren Stephenson, Alabama 67
Sarah Rhee, Washington 67
Michaela Williams, Tennessee 67
Jillian Hollis, Georgia 68
Rinko Mitsunaga, Georgia 69
Amanda Doherty, Florida St. 69
YuSang Hou, Arizona 69
Jennifer Kupcho, Wake Forest 70
Polly Mack, UNLV 70
Louise Yu, Vanderbilt 70
Alice Chen, Furman. 70
Siyun Liu, Wake Forest 70
Julianne Alvarez, Washington 70
Additional Georgia Scores
T42. Gabriela Coello 74
T61. Isabella Skinner 76
T73. Paula Neira Garcia 77