The University of Tennessee women’s golf team is in sixth place after the first round of the SEC Championships.
"It was nice to be first off. You don't have a lot of time to sit around in the morning,” head coach Judi Pavon said. “The weather was perfect. It's been great all day, but it was good to just not have to deal with any nerves just wake up early and get going. So we got off to a good start and have a good solid first round."
Tennessee scored 294 (+6) in the first round of the tournament. After their first round performance, the Lady Vols have a chance to advance to match play after 18 holes. Tennessee is only three shots off of the defending SEC Champion Arkansas Razorbacks, who currently sits in fourth.
The Lady Vols are two shots ahead of Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt is ranked No. 4 nationally in the latest Golfstat rankings and is the highest ranked team in the tournament.
Mariah Smith carded the lowest round of the day for Tennessee at a 72 (E). On hole No. 2, Smith double-bogeyed, but over the next 11 holes, Smith shot 2-under to bring herself back to par. Smith got as low as 1-under-par, and she was even tied for eighth in the first round. She will enter Thursday tied for 14th.
Ariana Macioce also finished in the top 20 after she shot a 73 (+1) in round one. She hit the turn 1-over but was able to bring it back to even after her birdie shot on the 14th hole. Macioce was the Lady Vols’ top finisher last season after she tied for 27th in the tournament.
"It's good to have all five of them in it,” said coach Pavon. “You know, instead of having one person just out of it and then the low score trying to make up for somebody else."
Micheala Williams is just one stroke back of Macioce. Williams shot three birdies in the opening round, which included back-to-back birdies on No. 6 and No. 7 to help her get to par. Williams has finished in the top 10 in her past three tournaments and is currently tied for 28th after 18 holes of play.
"I know they all felt pretty decent. They all know where they lost a shot or two,” said coach Pavon. “We could use someone to really shoot a good score tomorrow. If we could get someone to break 70 out there tomorrow and have a really good day that would be good. You know a bunch of them could do it."
The second round will start for Tennessee at 9:50 a.m. as the Lady Vols will be paired with Arkansas (+3) and Georgia (+5) who are fourth and fifth, respectively.