GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Miami Hurricanes junior Carina Cuculiza registered a season-low-tying 70 and is tied for seventh overall Friday through 18 holes at the 41st annual SunTrust Gator Women's Invitational.
After a first-round 290, Miami is in fourth place overall, trailing only a trio of Top 5 programs. No. 4 Oklahoma owns a one-stroke lead at 5-over 285, followed by No. 3 Alabama in second at 6-over 286. Host and No. 5 Florida is third at 9-over 289, one stroke ahead of the fourth-place Hurricanes, who is three strokes ahead of Mississippi State and No. 21 Oklahoma State.
Only six golfers are under par through 18 holes. Alabama's Stephanie Meadow and Virginia's Portland Rosen are tied for the first-round lead at 2-under 68. Four golfers are tied for third at 1-under 69.
Cuculiza, a product of Managua, Nicaragua, notched five birdies on the day and is only two strokes behind the co-leaders. Cuculiza, who is tied for seventh at even-par 70, opened the day with a bogey on the first hole, but then rattled off three birdies and three pars before suffering a bogey on No. 17. Off the turn, Cuculiza would add birdies on No. 2 and No. 9 to move to even for the day.
"We did really well today," third-year head coach Patti Rizzo said. "We started off the way I've envisioned this team being able to play. Unfortunately it slowed down; Leticia (Ras-Anderica) three-putted a few holes, and Christina (Ocampo) said she wished she could have had some back, but Carina really hung in there from beginning to end. She birdied her last hole from the bunker which put her even on the day."
"I'm very pleased where we are right now considering all the great teams here," Rizzo said. "If we can continue this roll we've been in, I'll be very happy."
Sophomore Rika Park opened Friday's round with a 1-over 36 on the back nine with one birdie on No. 11, followed by five consecutive pars. Park would take the turn and play even over the next nine holes to finish tied for 10th at 1-over 71.
Freshman Christina Ocampo, who entered the tournament with two straight top-20 finishes, is four strokes off the lead 2-over 72, good for a 15th-place tie. Tied for 48th is sophomore Leticia Ras-Anderica, who totaled a 7-over 77, while freshman Laura Hendee is in 78th after shooting 17-over 87.
The Miami women's golf team will open Saturday's second round at 9:45 a.m., along with Oklahoma State and Mississippi State. Live scoring is available at www.Golfstat.com.
|SUNTRUST GATOR WOMEN'S INVITATIONAL|
|t5.||(21) Oklahoma State||293||+13|
|7.||(49) Florida State||294||+14|
|10.||(6) North Carolina||301||+21|
|15.||San Diego State||312||+32|
|MIAMI INDIVIDUAL RESULTS|