HOUSTON – Amanda Gartrell opened the 2018 NCAA Division II Women's Golf Championships with a 76 on Wednesday, putting her in a tie for 34th place with three rounds remaining. The sophomore from Lakeland is playing in her first national championship tournament following her third-place finish at the regional tournament that qualified her for the finals.
As one of 12 individuals playing in the tournament, Gartrell was among the first to tee off Wednesday morning at Bay Oaks Country Club. She got off to a good start by parring her first two holes, a pair of par-4s, before a birdie on the par-3 No. 3 put her at one-under. A double-bogey on 4 and a bogey on 5, though, left Gartrell at two-over before another birdie on 7 got her moving in the right direction again.
Gartrell's best stretch came on from 11 through 16 when she recorded one birdie and five pars. That was part of a longer stretch of 11 holes in which she was one-under, which made up more than half her round. Consecutive bogeys on 17 and 18, however, dropped her score to 76 (+4). She was tied for 44th when she went to the clubhouse out of the early wave, but as more golfers completed their rounds, she moved up 10 spots. That put her almost dead center in the field of 72 that includes 12 teams and 12 individuals.
Gartrell's best scores came on the par-3 holes at Bay Oaks Country Club where she had two of her three birdies and parred the other two. Her score of -2 over those four holes was tied for the best in the tournament.
Sharing the individual lead are two other individual qualifiers, Kiira Riihijarvi of Tampa and Casey Wild of Tarleton State (TX) who each shot a three-under-par 69. Riihijarvi also had the only eagle of the day, converting on the par-5 No. 16, the longest hole on the course. Three players are tied for third at two-under-par 70, and six are sitting at one-under.
Indianapolis holds the team lead with a two-under-par 286, putting the Greyhounds four shots ahead of Dallas Baptist and six ahead of Barry. Nova Southeastern is fifth with a 296, and Rollins is seventh with a 302.
Round two begins at 8:30 a.m. CST/9:30 Eastern. Gatrell will be among the final players to tee off, starting her round at 10:15 CST/11:15 Eastern.