By Murray Evans
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 21, 2013) – It was a good news, bad news sort of day for Oklahoma Christian’s women’s golf team on the first day of the National Christian College Athletic Association Invitational on Monday.
First some good news: two Lady Eagles – national-tournament veterans Anna Arrese Cortadellas and Audrey Meisch – were in contention after firing rounds of 74 and 75, respectively, on the par-72, 5,616-yard Bad and Good courses at The Hombre Golf Club.
The bad news was that OC shot its highest team score of the season, a 25-over 313, and has some major work to do during the next two days if it wants to compete for the national title. OC was tied for fourth place in the nine-team field and trailed the leader, Dallas Baptist (Texas), by 15 shots.
DBU posted a team score of 298. Lee (Tenn.) was second at 301 and Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) was third at 306.
There’s also more good news – the tournament was lengthened to 54 holes this year (from 36 in previous years), providing the Lady Eagles with more time to rally.
“Unfortunately we shot our high round of the year and this is not the place you want to do that, but it’s a tough golf course,” OC coach Greg Lynn said. “The girls had some trouble finding the right spots in the fairways and made mistakes. But I expect them to play better tomorrow and better yet the next day. We’re certainly not out of this.”
Arrese Cortadellas was 1-under through 16 before closing with a bogey and double bogey, but was tied for fourth in the 51-woman field, six shots behind the leader, Courtney Shelton of Lee.
Meisch, who finished ninth in the NCCAA event last year, recorded five birdies and was tied for eighth.
But The Hombre – which has six holes just on its Bad course on which a player must hit a shot over water and penalizing rough throughout – got the best of the three freshmen in OC’s lineup. India Matthews finished at 83, Allison Sell posted an 81 and Dana Todd shot an 84.
“Anna and Audrey are playing well and I expect that India will find her game and Allison and Dana will all play better,” Lynn said. “We’re not down and out. We just didn’t play as good as we can play.
Lynn remained confident his team could regain the form it’s shown most of the fall.
“We’re a team that’s capable of coming back,” he said. “We have that ability.”