RIO VERDE, Ariz. – All five members of the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi golf team shot 77 or better, as the Islanders sit in a tie for fourth place through the first two rounds of the prestigious Rio Verde Invitational at the Rio Verde Country Club. Ryann White (Lubbock/Coronado) shot 76 in round two, leaving her in a tie for second through 36 holes, while freshman Vanessa Johnson (Corpus Christi/Carroll) shot a team-best 73 in the second round.
"This was the most consistent our team has been at any point this year," head coach Carol Blackmar said. "What a tremendous performance by Vanessa after her tough start – she really came through for us today. But everyone had a strong day on the course – this is the performance we need over the next two months to get us rolling before the Southland Championship."
Nikki Dunn sits tied for 13th after posting a 75 in the second round, while Krista Fenniak is just one stroke behind in 15th following her 77. Taylor Slagle carded a 76 in round two for a 161 through 36 holes, while Johnson is one shot behind Slagle for the Invitational with a two-round 162. As a team, the Islanders are just six shots behind first-place Akron.
Johnson opened on six with a bogey, and a double on eight pushed her 3-over for the day. She followed with a bogey on 10, but then turned it into high gear. Over the next eight holes, she posted five pars and three birdies, cutting her score to plus-1 on her way to the first tee. She dropped a stroke with a bogey on the 2nd, but closed with three straight pars to post a team-best 73 on the day.
White, the only player in the field to start the day even or better, opened the day with a birdie on the fourth to pull under par. Bogeys on the fifth and sixth set her back over par, but she responded with three straight pars to finish the front nine, heading to the turn 1-over. She then bogeyed the 10th to move 2-over for the first time in the tourney, but immediately responded with a birdie on 11 to return to plus-1. White then hit her roughest stretch of the tournament to that point, with bogeys on four of her next six holes to fall to plus-5 on the day. She finished the round with three straight pars to card a 76.
Fenniak started her day with two pars, but three straight bogeys saw her fall to plus-3 for the day. She bogeyed the 10th, but posted three pars and a clutch birdie over her next four holes to remain at 3-over. A bogey on the 15th was followed by three straight pars on 16-18, but she bogeyed two of her last five holes to finish the round with a 6-over 77.
Dunn opened with four straight pars, then delivered a birdie four on the par-5 ninth to sit 1-under on the day at the turn. A bogey on 10 pulled her even for the round, then she netted par on 11 and 12. She went par-par-bogey from the 13th through the 15th, then a double on 16 pushed her to plus-3. Dunn responded by posting birdie on 18, but bogeys on 1 and 2 set her back to 4-over. She closed the round with a par on the fourth to finish with a 75.
Slagle delivered par on three of her first five holes, with a bogey on six and a birdie on seven leaving her even for the day heading to the back nine. She scored par on 10 and 11, but she tallied bogeys on three of the following four holes, and sat plus-3 heading to the 16th tee. On the par-3 16th, she carded a five and followed that with a bogey on 17 to fall to 6-over, but a birdie on the 18th cut her back down to plus-5. She finished her round with pars on the final four holes to wrap the second round with a 76.
The Islanders will once again begin play on holes 4-6, and they will be paired with Kansas and Eastern Michigan, both past champions of the event. Sunday's competition is a shotgun start at 8 a.m. MST on the Quail Run Course. For all the latest, follow the team on Twitter (@IslandersGolf).
T2. Ryann White (71-76—147)
T13. Nikki Dunn (77-75—152)
T15. Krista Fenniak (76-77—153)
T59. Vanessa Johnson (89-73—162)
T55. Taylor Slagle (85-76—161)