Henderson has Lady Chants in the mix at NCAA Regional

Coastal Carolina’s Brittany Henderson spent the entire day battling for the individual lead, while also pacing the Chanticleers to a 11th place showing after the opening round of the NCAA Central Regional contested at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club in Norman, Okla.

The Chants combined to turn in a 5-over 293 for the round. Ninth-ranked Florida is the leader in the clubhouse, notching a 6-under 282. Host Oklahoma (283, -5) and No. 3 Duke (284, -4) joined the fourth-ranked Sooners under par for the day. The Chants, ranked 39th, are right where they need to be in regards to preparing for Friday’s “moving day” leading into Saturday’s final round. The top eight teams advance to NCAA National Championship in Athens, Ga.

Henderson, competing in an NCAA Regional for the fourth straight year, would finish the day tied for third on the leaderboard with a 3-under 69 tally. The senior went as low as five under par through 12 holes before bogeys on 14 and 18 left her at 3-under for the round. She navigated the front nine of the course with precision, making the turn at 3-under thanks to a 15-foot birdie putt on nine. Her back nine was also impressive as she continued to find the fairways off the tee and routinely left herself opportunities in her short game.

Jessica Alexander joined Henderson under par, posting a 1-under 71 on the par-72, 6,298-yard course. Alexander, playing in her third NCAA Regional, owned the Chanticleers’ best shot of the day. The senior scored one of only four eagles throughout the 126-competitor field, holing out from 94 yards on the par-5 fifth hole. A double-bogey on six was followed by par-birdie-par leaving her at 2-under through nine holes. She went on to play the back nine 1-over leading to her 71 and a 13th (tied) placing on the leaderboard. Alexander finished the day tied in par-5 scoring at an impressive 3-under.

Freshman Lena Schaeffner is tied for 77th overall with an 18-hole score of 76 (+4). Schaeffner claimed birdies on the par-4 fourth and 10th holes. Her front nine featured a run of six straight holes of chipping to within eight feet. A double-bogey on nine was combated with a birdie on 10, but she would not make up any ground after that as she played her final eight holes at 4-over.

Frida Castillo carded a 5-over 77, tying for 99th after one day of competition. The sophomore finished the day with 13 pars, despite several close misses on birdie opportunities. She closed the round even on the par-5s and 1-over on the par-3s.

Marissa Hinchman was stellar through the first nine holes of her NCAA postseason career, making the turn at 1-over. She started the back nine with a par and birdie to put her at even stepping to the 12th tee box. However, a double-bogey on the par-3 12th seemingly unraveled her day. She struggled over the remainder of the round carding four bogeys, leading to her 6-over 78.

Coastal tees off on the second round of play at 7:30 a.m. CT. The Chanticleer will be paired with competitors from TCU and Wake Forest.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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