Tying for the fifth-lowest opening round in program history, the 297 puts MSU just six shots back of leaders No. 31 Penn State and No. 23 Texas A&M. The Lady Bulldogs own a one-shot lead over 14th-ranked Iowa State.
"We did an excellent job of executing today," third-year MSU coach Ginger Brown-Lemm said. "Coming into this week, we focused so much on our short game and staying focused mentally on the course. I thought our girls did an excellent job of applying what we have practiced to the round and being 'one shot warriors.' We faced adversity at times with a bad shot or a mistake but were able to block it out and bounce back."
Leading the way for the Maroon and White, sophomore standout Ally McDonald fired a 72. After bogeying the second hole of the day, the Fulton native settled down and notched 12 consecutive pars before going birdie-birdie-bogey-par to conclude the round. She is currently tied for 8th individually, just three strokes back of tournament-leader No. 22 Hana Lee of Northwestern.
Also posting a solid outing for MSU, Mary Langdon Gallagher carded a season-best 1-over-par 73. After turning in par through the first nine holes, the junior fell to 2-over through 12 holes. Gallagher rebounded with two birdies over the next two holes. The Greenwood native is currently tied for 12th and looking for her first Top 25 card since the Price's "Give 'Em" Five Invitational a year ago.
Freshman Gabi Oubre's 3-over-par 75 landed her just outside the Top 25. She is coming off back-to-back strong performances to open the season. Rounding out the Lady Bulldog leaderboard, sophomore Rica Tse and freshman Logan Chaney posted a 77 and 86, respectively.
Second-round action will begin at 9:00 a.m. CST Saturday, with the Lady Bulldogs slated to tee off alongside No. 10 Northwestern and No. 14 Iowa State on hole No. 1.
"As a coach, I'm excited to play with these top-level programs, sticking to our game plan and proving that we belong here," Brown-Lemm said. "Playing alongside two Top 15 teams will push our team and help us grow on a very challenging course."
Live stats will be available through HailState.com. Fans can also keep up with the women's golf program through the women's golf twitter account, @mstateWG, or Facebook account, facebook.com/mstateWG.
First Round - October 12, 2012
T1. No. 31 Penn State (291, +3); T1. No. 23 Texas A&M (291, +3); T3. No. 27 Tennessee (292, +4); T3. UTSA (292, +4); 5. No. 26 Purdue (293, +6); T6. Florida State (296, +8); T6. No. 10 Northwestern (296, +8); 8. Mississippi State (297, +9); 9. No. 14 Iowa State (298, +10); 10. Furman (300, +12); 11. No. 48 East Carolina (302, +14); 12. Miami (308, +20); 13. Chattanooga (311, +23); 14. Memphis (313, +25); 15. James Madison (314, +26); 16. Eastern Kentucky (232, +35).