Day one is in the books for the CSU womenâ€™s golf team at the NCAA West Regional in Stanford, Calif.
The Rams finished the first round in 15th place in a field that included 24 of the regionâ€™s best golf teams. Virginia and Arizona tied for the lead after the first round with a total score of 291.
CSU sent five players to the tournament, seniors Kasey Claussen and Natalie Stone, two sophomores, Melissa Martin and Brianna Espinoza, and freshman Emily Roering. All five of them also competed at the MWC Championships where the team finished third.
As expected, the two most experienced players on the team, Claussen and Stone, posted the lowest score, each shooting a 75 ( 4), on a course that is considered one of the hardest in all of college golf.
Espinoza, Martin and Roering shot an 81 ( 10), 78 ( 7) and 76 ( 5), respectively, bringing the team total for round one to 304.
Head coach Angie Hopkins was fairly pleased with what she saw from her team after one day of competition and knows that they can do better in the next two rounds.
â€œI know they were all a little nervous starting off, but they really held it together well,â€ Hopkins said. â€œThey finished strong and that was really important because they did not start off well.â€
Hopkins wanted to make sure her team understood what they would need to do in the next two days in order to play better.
â€œStaying patient and knowing where to miss their shots because you can be in some pretty bad spots out there,â€ Hopkins said.
â€œYou canâ€™t be above the hole because the greens are pretty fast.â€
Not only are the Rams competing with the other teams out on the course, they are battling with the course itself as each hole provides a unique challenge.
â€œI didnâ€™t hit very many fairways, and that is pretty penalizing on this course because they let their rough go,â€ Stone said. â€œI am frustrated to an extent, but I have to take it with a grain of salt.â€
Claussen struggled on the front nine, going four over, but recovered on the back nine, staying even to remain at four over on the day.
â€œMy round was definitely up and down,â€ Claussen said. â€œIâ€™m not happy about it, but it could have been worse.â€
This is the first year the Rams have qualified for the NCAA Regionalâ€™s since 2005, so the experience is new for all the players.
â€œShe (Hopkins) just approached Kasey, and I said to relax and enjoy being there,â€ Stone said.
â€œWeâ€™re not the top seed or expected to come in and win it or anything, so weâ€™re basically just there to enjoy ourselves and thatâ€™s when we play our best golf.â€
The seniorsâ€™ advice to the young players on the team was simple, just go out there and enjoy yourself.
â€œWe told them to just relax, have fun, and enjoy it,â€ Claussen said. â€œWe try not to put too much pressure on anybody.â€
Sports Reporter Cris Tiller can be reached at email@example.com