Chen Leads Ducks on Day One

CARLSBAD, Calif. — The postseason experience of Ching-Tzu Chen showed on Friday as Oregon’s fifth-year senior led the Ducks with a 1-under 71 to open the 2024 NCAA Women’s Golf Championships at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa.

Teeing off in the afternoon wave, the No. 12 Ducks finished the day with a 6-over 294 to sit in 17th place. Oregon completed its opening round around 6:30 p.m. PTand will have a quick turnaround with a 7:57 a.m. start on Saturday for round two.

“It was an up-and-down day for us,” head coach Derek Radley said. “Proud of CCT for going out there and getting off to a good start; you could certainly see the valueof her experience at these championships. I thought all five of our players had some really good moments today, we just need to be a little more consistent and give ourselves some more scoring opportunities. We’ll rest up tonight and be ready to get after it again in the morning.”

The 30-team field will be cut down to the top 15 teams following Sunday’s third round, with the top eight teams after the final round of stroke play on Monday advancing to match play. Oregon currently sits three strokes outside the top 15. 

How it Happened: Chen made her first of a team-high four birdies at No. 4, immediately bouncing back from a bogey to get back to even par. She made the turn at 1 over before making a birdie at No. 11 and, after a bogey at No. 12, made two birdies and four pars in her final six holes to finish with a 1-under 71.

It was the sixth career par-or-better round at the NCAA Championships for Chen, who tied for 17th overall in stroke play in 2022 while helping the Ducks reach matchplay and eventually finish as the national runners-up.

Chen enters round two in a tie for 18th place individually, closing the day as one of 37 players to shoot under par.

Freshman Karen Tsuru came in with a 1-over 73, on the strength of three straight birdies on holes 5-7. She nearly holed out for eagle on the 513-yard sixth hole,putting her approach shot to inside of a foot to set up a birdie. 

Senior Minori Nagano and freshman Kiara Romero closed out Oregon’s counting scores with 3-over 75s. Nagano was 3 over at the turn before shooting even on the back nine, while Romero made the turn at 2-under par but ran into some trouble on the back half with a bogey and two doubles.

Ducks on the Leaderboard:

17. Oregon – 294 (+6)

T18. Ching-Tzu Chen – 71 (-1)

T57. Karen Tsuru – 73 (+1)

T88. Minori Nagano – 75 (+3)

T88. Kiara Romero – 75 (+3)

T99. Ting-Hsuan Huang – 76 (+4)

Notable: Chen now has 349 career birdies, third-most in program history and just five back of Carolina Inglis (354, 2013-16) for No. 2 … Chen’s next birdie will make her the third Duck ever to make 350 in a career … Romero’s two birdies on Friday gave her 106 on the season, fifth-most in UO single-season history and just one back of Inglis (107, 2015-16) for No. 4 … Chen was 4-under par on par-4 holes, tied for the third-best mark in the field … Clemson leads the field at 8-under par, while Florida State’s Lottie Woad is the individual leader at 7-under par.

Round Two Tee Times (Saturday, May 18)

7:57 a.m. – Ting-Hsuan Huang

8:08 a.m. – Minori Nagano

8:19 a.m. – Kiara Romero

8:30 a.m. – Karen Tsuru

8:41 a.m. – Ching-Tzu Chen