CORPUS CHRISTI - Nikki Dunn delivered an opening-round 74 to lead the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi golf team to fourth place after 18 holes at the Southland Conference Women's Golf Championship on Monday at the Corpus Christi Country Club. Dunn is in a tie for fourth place individually at the championship with her two-over performance.
The Islanders shot an opening-round 313, 16 shots off the blistering pace set by Lamar (297) in the opening round. UTSA took second after the first 18 with a 306, while defending champion Texas State was third with a 308. McNeese State (316), Central Arkansas (320), Sam Houston State (320) and Stephen F. Austin (324) followed in fifth through eighth, respectively.
Katie Belser shot a plus-five 77 in the opening round, while Cecilia Jeon had an 80 for the first 18 holes. Ryann White closed out the scorers with an 82, while Lindsay Biehler shot 87 for her first 18 holes. Three players are tied for the overall lead at plus-1, just one stroke ahead of Dunn.
The sophomore bogeyed the second, then caught fire for the rest of the front nine, birdieing the par-3 fourth and the par-4 ninth to sit one under at the turn. She ran into some trouble on the back nine, notching bogey on 11 and 12, but rebounded with four straight pars. A bogey on 17 put her two over, but she responded with a par on 18 to go in with her 74. She was stellar out of bunkers in the round, going up-and-down all four times she found herself in the sand.
Belser delivered 13 pars in her round to place her fourth among all competitors. The lone senior on the Islanders roster had bogeys on four and eight and a double on the sixth hole to sit four over at the turn. She then notched par on the first seven holes of the back nine and scored a two on the par-3 17th. But a double bogey on 18 set her back to an opening-round 77 for the Islanders.
Jeon opened her round with a birdie on the first, one of just three players to score under par on the opening hole. Bogeys on two, three and five saw her fall to plus-2, then a double on six placed her at four over. The sophomore rallied with five straight pars, then went bogey-birdie-bogey on 12, 13 and 14. A bogey on 16 then put her six-over par, and after a wayward drive on 18, she finished her round with a double to sit at 80.
White had a disappointing opening to her round, posting eight bogeys on the opening 11 holes. She looked on the verge of turning it around with a birdie on 12, but a triple on 13 set her back to plus-10. She finished strong with five straight pars to card an 82. Biehler sat seven over through her first 11 holes, but in just her second competition of the spring due to injury, the final seven holes dropped her to an 87.
The second round of the SLC Women's Golf Championship will tee off at 8 a.m. on Tuesday at CCCC. The Islanders will start on the first tee at 9:20, with Biehler starting things. White will follow at 9:28, then Jeon at 9:36, Belser at 9:44 and Dunn at 9:52.
ISLANDERS INDIVIDUAL FINISHES:
T4 - Nikki Dunn - 74
T13 - Katie Belser - 77
T20 - Cecilia Jeon - 80
T28 - Ryann White - 82
T38 - Lindsay Biehler - 87