Lady Eagles in 2nd after opening round of NCCAA Invitational
By Murray Evans
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 22, 2012) – If Oklahoma Christian wants to win the NCCAA Invitational, the Lady Eagles will have to catch a Heartland Conference foe that’s fast becoming perhaps their biggest rival.
Led by a 3-over-par 75 from Anna Arrese Cortadellas, OC posted a team score of 312 on Monday in the first round of the NCCAA event at The Hombre Golf Club. The Lady Eagles trail Dallas Baptist (Texas) by eight shots and hold a 10-shot edge over third-place Shorter (Ga.), meaning the battle for the title is essentially a two-team affair.
The final round will be Tuesday, with OC seeking what would be its first tournament win in the program’s 11th event. The Lady Eagles have posted six runner-up finishes, and this season finished behind Dallas Baptist in two tournaments, by six shots each time.
“We can win this. We can do it,” OC coach Greg Lynn said. “Will we? If they step up and do it, we can compete with anybody. We have to go out there and play solid golf, one through five.”
Individually, three OC players are in the top 10. Arrese Cortadellas was fourth, two shots behind the leader, Erin Barrington of Dallas Baptist and one behind Mercedes Rios of DBU and Pauline Schopp of Shorter. OC’s Catherine Odgers overcame a two-shot penalty for teeing off in the wrong spot and stood fifth at 77, while the Lady Eagles’ No. 5 player, Audrey Meisch, was tied for 10th at 79.
OC’s two seniors, Sarah Harper and Morgan Dockery, both shot 81 on the 5,904-yard course and were tied for 15th in the 51-woman field.
“We’re still in it,” Lynn said. “It’s what I said before the tournament. Our middle girls – Sarah, Catherine and Morgan – need to play two good rounds. We can’t keep doing what we have been doing.”
Ironically, the Lady Eagles fared better on the tougher front nine, on which players have to hit five shots that must carry over water. Dockery birdied the par-3 No. 3, then followed with a 50-yard chip-in eagle on the par-5 No. 4 after sending her second shot into the right rough.
Harper and Odgers, playing in consecutive groups, each birdied the par-3 No. 7. But every OC player recorded at least one double bogey, with all but Meisch doing so on the back nine.
“The girls hung in there today, through some rough circumstances,” Lynn said. “The hard side, we played better. The wind was blowing like crazy out there and with five carries over water into the wind, it’s difficult.”