Aztecs’ Sirene Blair cards tournament-low 66 in second round
Photo: Sirene Blair courtesy goaztecs.com
February 13, 2017 (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) - San Diego State senior Sirene Blair (South Jordan, Utah) fired a tournament-low 5-under-par 66 on Monday to lead the Aztec women’s golf team during the second round of the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge at the par-71, 6,017-yard Palos Verdes Golf Club.
With her total, Blair tied for the third-lowest single round score in program history, climbing a whopping 48 places on the leaderboard into a seven-way tie for eighth with a 36-hole total of even-par 142 heading into Tuesday’s final round.
Collectively, SDSU climbed five spots into a tie for eighth with Northwestern at 17-over 585 after posting an even 284 during the second round. The Aztecs were one of just six squads in the field of 15 schools to shoot a combined even-par or better on Monday and made the second-biggest gain in the standings behind the aforementioned Wildcats, who jumped up from the 14th position.
Blair was the star of the day for SDSU, draining eight birdies overall, including six on her first eight greens. Despite a bogey at the 18th, her first hole before the turn, and a double at the par-5 No. 5, the three-time all-Mountain West selection regrouped with back-to-birdies at No. 6 and 7 and a pair of finishing pars for her team-leading fourth round of the season in the 60s.
As a result, Blair finds herself just five shots behind front-runner Kelly Grassel of Florida, who leaped two places into the lead at 5-under 137, while USC’s Robynn Ree (-4) sits in second, followed by Leona Maguire of Duke, Florida’s Maria Torres and Lauren Stephenson of Alabama, who are all tied for third at 3-under 139.
Three of the four remaining Aztec starters also displayed upward mobility on Monday, including junior Haleigh Krause (Eugene, Ore.) and fellow classmate Georgia Lacey (Del Mar, Calif.), who each carded a 73 during the second round.
Krause managed to ease the sting of five bogeys with a trio of birdies, including an impressive conversion on the par-3, 205-yard No. 4, which ranked as the third-toughest hole on Monday. With her round, the native Oregonian moved up one spot into a tie for 33rd at 5-over 147.
Lacey, meanwhile, remains one shot in back of Krause in a tie for 40th at 6-over 148. The Torrey Pines High product was a model of consistency early on, collecting 11 pars on her first 12 holes before sinking consecutive birdies on the fourth and fifth greens. However, three bogeys on her final four holes derailed her momentum. Still, Lacey was able to gain three places on the leaderboard.
Fernanda Escauriza (Asunción, Paraguay) completed a much steeper climb, ascending 26 spots into a tie for 49th at 7-over 149 after recording SDSU’s second-lowest score of the day with a 72. After making bogey at No. 4, the Aztec freshman finished strong with three pars and two birdies, including a successful drain on her final hole, the par-4, 350-yard No. 9.
Fellow teammate and compatriot Mila Chaves (Asunción, Paraguay) was not as fortunate, however, tumbling 26 places into a tie for 82nd at 15-over 157 after a second-round struggle of 81. Following a triple-bogey-7 on hole No. 10, her first of the day, the SDSU junior was unable to right the ship despite a pair of birdies on the back at No. 6 and 7.
Florida (-3) took over the top spot in the standings after posting a 9-under 275 on Monday, while USC (-1) occupies the runner-up position, followed by Duke (+6), Arizona State (+7) and UNLV (+10).
San Diego State wraps up competition at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge on Tuesday when it tees off alongside Arizona State, California and Oklahoma State in a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. PT.
Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge
Round Two Results
Palos Verdes G.C.
Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.
Par 71, 6,017 yards
Team Scores (Top 5 of 15 teams + SDSU)
1. Florida 290-275—565 (-3)
2. USC 285-282—567 (-1)
3. Duke 287-287—574 (+6)
4. Arizona State 293-282—575 (+7)
5. UNLV 292-286—578 (+10)
8. San Diego State 301-284—585 (+17)
Individual Leaders (Top 5 of 87 players + SDSU)
1. Kelly Grassel, Florida 69-68—137 (-5)
2. Robynn Ree, USC 68-70—138 (-4)
T3. Leona Maguire, Duke 68-71—139 (-3)
T3. Maria Torres, Florida 70-69—139 (-3)
T3. Lauren Stephenson, Alabama 72-67—139 (-3)
T8. Sirene Blair, SDSU 76-66—142 (E)
T33. Haleigh Krause, SDSU 74-73—147 (+5)
T40. Georgia Lacey, SDSU 75-73—148 (+6)
T49. Fernanda Escauriza, SDSU 77-72—149 (+7)
82. Mila Chaves, SDSU 76-81—157 (+15)