Paula Vega's opening round 71 has her tied for the lead and Jacksonville State in second after Day One of the Ohio Valley Conference Women's Golf Championship.
The senior from Medellin, Colombia, had two birdies and just one bogey in her first round on the par-72, 6,025-yard Schoolmaster Course at The Shoals on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. She is tied with Murray State's Linette Holmslykke atop the 45-player field.
The Gamecocks saw all five players place in the Top 15 on Monday, finishing off a 6-over 294 that is just three shots behind leader Murray State. Eastern Kentucky is third, two back of JSU.
The Gamecocks made 13 birdies on Monday, the most in the field, led by junior Pia Ohlenbusch's tournament-best four, and were second in the field with 60 pars.
Vega, the lone senior of the Gamecocks roster, bounced back after a bogey on the third hole and played the final 15 holes at 2-under. She birdied the eighth and 12thholes, while making par on the others.
Freshman Claire Vermette also bounced back after an early double bogey on the second hole. The St. Petersburg, Fla., native played the final 16 holes at even par, including back-to-back birdies on the 12th and 13th holes. Her opening round 74 has her in a tie for eighth with Ohlenbusch and EKU's Bailey Hubbard.
Ohlenbusch, a native of Nurnberg, Germany, shot 33 on the back nine, including a birdie on No. 18 to wrap up her opening round 74. She overcame a 41 on the front nine to sit in the Top 10 after the first day.
Sophomore Ana Perez Altuna is tied for 11th after her opening round 75. The native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, used a four-hole stretch of 2-under golf on the back nine to climb the leaderboard. Fellow sophomore Valentina Curet shot 76 on Monday and is tied for 15th with 36 holes remaining in the three-day event.
The Gamecocks will be paired with the Racer and Colonels again on Tuesday and will begin play at 9:40 a.m. CT. Live scoring can be found online at www.golfstat.com.
(Courtesy: JSU Sports Information: www.jsugamecocksports.com)