Ducks Overcome Slow Start, Tied for Third After Round One

AUBURN, Ala. — After combining to shoot 12-over par through the first seven holes of Monday’s opening round at the NCAA Auburn Regional, the Oregon women’s golf team bounced back to go just 2-over par across the final 11 holes and finish the day in a tie for third place at Auburn University Club.

The No. 14 Ducks – who are the No. 3 seed in the regional – closed the round with a 10-over 298 and are tied with Tulsa and Houston for third place. No. 7 Auburn – the host team and No. 2 seed in the field – leads the team race at 2-over par with top-ranked South Carolina in second at 5 over. North Carolina is in sixth, two strokes back of Oregon, Tulsa and Houston at 12-over par.

Play will continue on Tuesday with round two, and the top five teams after Wednesday’s final round will advance to the 2024 NCAA Championships (May 17-22) in Carlsbad, Calif.

“I’m proud of the resiliency our team showed out there today,” head coach Derek Radley said. “We didn’t get off to a great start, but they stayed committed to our game plan and executed shots on the back nine to keep us in good position.Regionals are tough and this is a good field. I’m excited to see what our team is able to come out and do the next two days.”

How it Happened: The youth movement that has headlined the 2023-24 season continued for the Ducks on Monday, as freshmen Ting-Hsuan Huang and Kiara Romero led the way with 1-over 73s. Oregon’s three remaining players – seniors Ching-Tzu Chen and Minori Nagano, and freshman Karen Tsuru – each came in with a 4-over 76 to round out the counting scores.

Huang was 1 over through four holes, making a birdie at No. 3 but quickly dropping two strokes with a double bogey at No. 4. She birdied No. 6 to get back to even before two bogeys brought her to 2 over through 11, but she bounced back with a birdie at No. 12 and then finished with six straight pars.

Romero got off to an unusually slow start, carding two double bogeys and a bogey in her first four holes. It didn’t take long for the all-Pac-12 first teamer to return to form, though, as she drained a birdie at No. 5 to ignite a stretch of 3-under par across her final 14 holes. She made three bogeys in five holes from No. 12 to No. 16 to get back to even, before finishing her round with a bogey.

Huang and Romero are both tied for eighth overall through 18 holes at 1-over par, with South Carolina’s Louise Rydqvist and Auburn’s Megan Schofill tied for the individual lead at 3-under par.

Nagano had a similar bounce-back effort to Romero’s. The senior was 5-over par with five bogeys through six holes, but proceeded to make 11 straight pars before closing her round with a birdie at No. 18. Nagano, Chen and Tsuru are all tied for 26th overall at 4-over par. 

Ducks on the Leaderboard:

T3. Oregon – 298 (+10)

T8. Ting-Hsuan Huang – 73 (+1)

T8. Kiara Romero – 73 (+1)

T26. Ching-Tzu Chen – 76 (+4)

T26. Minori Nagano – 76 (+4)

T26. Karen Tsuru – 76 (+4)

Notable: Oregon led the field in par-3 scoring on Monday at 2-over par, and was tied for second on par-5s at 3-under par … The Ducks are tied for third in the field with 10 total birdies … Romero is tied for the best individual score on par-3 holes at 1-under par, and is tied for second-best on par-5s at 3-under par … Romero’s five total birdies were the most in the field on Monday.

Up Next: The Ducks will once again be paired with Auburn and South Carolina in Tuesday’s second round, teeing off from No. 1 beginning at 6 a.m. PT.