Lauren Kim was nothing short of spectacular Tuesday with a 3-under 67 to open the NCAA Championships at the Tulsa Country Club in Oklahoma.
Stanford sophomore Lauren Kim shot a 3-under 67 to earn a three-way tie for first st the NCAA Championships. Photo by John Todd/isiphotos.com.
Kim had little difficulty navigating through the constant wind gusts that reached up to 30 mph, and was one of just seven players to finish under par.
Kim said she faced stronger winds last week at the Southern California's Oak Valley Golf Club during the U.S. Women's Open Sectional qualifier, in which she finished ninth.
"I feel great, and considering the conditions, last week served as a great tune-up for this tournament," Kim. "There's always shots left out there no matter how well you played. Overall, I couldn't be happier with how I played."
Kim had four birdies with her only bogey coming after a three-putt on the par-5 16th. On the par-3 sixth, Kim stuck a five-wood to less than a foot from the pin against a fierce crosswind and tapped in for birdie.
That shot was trumped only by UNLV's Dana Finkelstein, who aced the 161-yard hole.
Kim was the clubhouse leader for the first half of the day while hitting 13 greens and used 30 putts to get through the round.
"You can definitely feel the wind out there," Kim said. "Some of my shots moved from the left part of the green all the way to the right side. It was definitely a challenge adjusting, but I think I handled it well."
Kim led Stanford to an opening round of 20-over 300, which was the third-best score among the 12 teams in the morning wave.
When the second half of the field checked in, Stanford found itself in 10th place, one of the seven Pac-12 teams among the leaders.
First-place Oklahoma is 12 strokes ahead of the Cardinal at 8-under.
Collectively, Stanford was 10-over through the first three holes and then went 10-over on the rest of the round.
The national tournament continues Wednesday at the par-70 layout.
Stanford sophomore Mariah Stackhouse went through the front nine at 1-over with a birdie on the par-4 seventh. She bogeyed 11, 13, 17 and 18 on the back half to finish with a 5-over 75, her highest score to par in over a month.
Casey Danielson's NCAA Championships debut was tattered with five bogeys and two doubles for a 79. She was 3-over on the back nine after a 6-over 41 on the front.
Stanford's Mariko Tumangan matched Danielson's 79, but the junior was extremely efficient with her game after standing at 5-over through five holes. Tumangan was one shot better on the back nine, including a birdie on the par-4 12th.