McDonald followed her career-best first-round 68 with a 1-under-par 71 in the second round. Her 36-hole 139 earns her a third-place sitting, just three shots back of first-place No. 13 Hayley Davis (Baylor).
The sophomore’s 5-under-par 139 not only set her career-best two-round tally, but also ranks as the second-best 36-hole card in MSU history.
McDonald entered the weekend with the SEC’s fifth-lowest scoring average (72.71), but with back-to-back stellar rounds has lowered her average to 72.46, nearly two strokes better than the current single-season school record.
“Ally is playing very well and has the ability to get her second win tomorrow,” third-year MSU coach Ginger Brown-Lemm said. “She knows the course, has the experience and is only three shots out. She wants it and will go out tomorrow with laser focus.”
After posting a program second-best 289 Friday, MSU notched an 11-over-par 299 Saturday.
The Lady Bulldogs 36-hole 12-over-par 588 ties for the third-best two-round tally in Maroon and White history and marks the second time a Brown-Lemm squad has achieved the feat.
With 12 more birdies on the day, State has rolled in 274 birdies on the season, breaking the single-season school record (265) set by the 2005-06 squad.
MSU leads three SEC teams entering the final round. Ole Miss owns a 16-over-par 592 and is in seventh-place, while 34th-ranked Kentucky is in eighth at 17-over. Missouri finds itself in 10th after a 27-over-par 603.
If the Lady Bulldogs can secure a Top 10 finish Sunday, they will tie the school record for consecutive Top 10’s with nine set during the 1999-2000 season.
“Our second-round woes continued today but we played well enough to give ourselves a chance to move up the leaderboard tomorrow,” Brown-Lemm said. “We are playing some of our best golf this season, but we still have room for improvement and that is what makes this exciting. Dropping 12 shots as a team on numbers nine, 17 and 18 hurt because we were 11-over for the day. We have come so far to be disappointed with a 299, I am proud and excited for our future.”
Individually, junior Mary Langdon Gallagher is just a single shot outside the Top 25 entering Sunday’s final round. The Greenwood, Miss., native posted a 4-over-par 76 in the second round to compliment her first-round 1-over-par 73. Her two-round 149 is her best this season and best since notching a 147 in last year’s Rebel Intercollegiate.
Gabi Oubre’ and Elena Warren are each at 7-over-par through 36 holes. Oubre’ fired a 1-over-par 73 Friday but surrendered a 6-over-par 78 Saturday for a two-round 151. Warren chiseled three strokes off her first-round 77 for a middle-round 74. The duo is tied for 36th.
Rica Tse rounded out the MSU leaderboard with a 10-over-par 154. The sophomore notched a 75 during the first round but turned a 77 for the second.
No. 49 Coastal Carolina posted a 1-over-par 289 Saturday to extend its lead over the tournament field to six strokes. No. 20 Tulane is second with a 3-over-par 579, while 24th-ranked Baylor is third with a 582.
Final-round action will begin with an 8 a.m. CST shotgun Sunday with the Lady Bulldogs slated to tee off alongside LSU and East Tennessee State on holes No. 4 through 6.
Live stats will be available through HailState.com. Fans can also follow the women’s golf program on Twitter, @mstateWG, and on Facebook at facebook.com/mstateWG
M&F Bank Rebel Intercollegiate
Second Round – April 6, 2013
1. No. 49 Coastal Carolina (284-289=573, -3); 2. No. 20 Tulane (293-286=579, +3); 3. No. 24 Baylor (289-293=582, +6); 4. No. 29 LSU (291-294=585, +9); 5. East Tennessee State (290-296=586, +10); 6. Mississippi State (289-299=588, +12); 7. Ole Miss (301-291=592, +16); 8. No. 34 Kentucky (291-302=593, +17); 9. Furman (300-300=600, +24); 10. Missouri (310-293=603, +27); 11. Harvard (299-307=606, +30); 12. Minnesota (303-308=611, +35); 13. Tulsa (305-309=614, +38); T14. Southern Miss (307-308=615, +39); T14. Redlands Community College (307-308=615, +39); 16. Troy (312-308=620, +44); 17. Memphis (314-316=330, +54); 18. Murray State (317-319=636, +60).