Lady Bulldogs Tied For Third, McDonald Two Strokes Back Of First

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Freshman standout Ally McDonald posted the third-lowest 36-hole score with a 141 during Monday's opening rounds.
Photo Courtesy of hailstate.com

STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. - Behind a first-round 1-over-par 289, the Mississippi State women's golf team turned in the fourth-best 36-hole performance in program history and second-best 36-hole card in the Ginger Brown-Lemm era at the John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate on Monday.

The first-round 289 posted by the Lady Bulldogs ties the for the second-lowest round turned in by a Maroon and White squad, matching the 2004 team's 1-over-par in the Chrysler ACC/SEC Challenge.

The Lady Bulldogs are currently tied for third, just seven strokes back of tourney-leader East Tennessee State. The Bucs used a second-round 289 after notching a 296 in the opening round to take a three-stroke lead over second-place Maryland.

MSU's last tournament win came during the Fall of 2004 at the Lady Wildcat Fall Invitational and has only had three other Top 3 finishes since then. Most recently, Brown-Lemm's Lady Bulldogs tied for third in the 2010 Price's Give 'Em Five Invitational.

"On the days that you have all five members playing well is when these records are set," Brown-Lemm said. "I was very proud of the team, but we could have easily had a 280. We have put ourselves in a good position to win the tournament tomorrow. Our focus is on one shot at a time and to start and finish well. We are just now beginning to see the results of our hard work."

Ally McDonald, who turned in a 70 and 71 during day one in the Atlanta suburbs, is currently tied for third behind Sian Evans of East Tennessee State. Evans used a tournament-best 5-under-par 67 in round two after posting par in the first round to take a two-stroke lead into Tuesday's final round.

The freshman standout's two-round 141 ties for the third-lowest 36-hole score in MSU history, while her first-round 70 ties for the fourth-best opening round.

McDonald aims to become the first Lady Bulldog to claim an outright individual tournament title since Suzanne Stanley won the same event in 2008. Erika Thornton claimed a share of the 2010 Memphis Women's Intercollegiate title before losing in a tie breaker. If the Fulton-native can capture the win, it will mark the first win by a freshman Lady Bulldog since Amandine Vincent won the 1995 Peggy Kirk Bell Invitational.

"Overall, I'm pleased with where I stand right now," McDonald said. "I could have been better, and I will have to be tomorrow if I want to move up the leaderboard. I'm extremely proud of the team, and I'm excited about the position that we are in right now. We have a chance to do something really special tomorrow."

Rica Tse used a team-high two eagles to post a career-best 69 in the first round. Her two-round 145 also set a new career-best. The freshman is currently in position to record her first-career Top 10 as she is tied for sixth.

Fellow freshman Elena Warren also turned in the best round (72) and best 36-hole score (152) of her young career.

Battling an injured shoulder, sophomore Mary Langdon Gallagher turned in a two-round 158.

Perry Katherine Furr's first-round scorecard was disqualified because she did not sign it, but her second-round 4-over-par 76 is the senior's best round since notching a 75 in the second round of the UCF Challenge on Feb. 13.

Final-round action begins at 7:40 a.m. CST with live stats available through HailState.com. MSU is slated to tee off alongside Western Carolina and Jacksonville State at 9:10.

Don't forget to stay connected through the Bulldogs' Facebook and Twitter pages at facebook.com/mstateWG and @mstateWG.

John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate
Second Round - March 26, 2011

TEAM RESULTS
1. East Tennessee St. (296+289=585, +9); 2. Maryland (295+293=588, +12); T3. Mississippi State (289+303=592, +16); T3. Campbell (296+296=592, +16); 5. Western Carolina (297+300=597, +21); 6. Jacksonville St. (303+295=598, +22); 7. Furman (299+300=599, +23); 8. Murray State (299+304=603, +27); 9. Georgia State (311+297=608, +32); 10. Nova Southeastern (311+318=629, +53); 11. Daytona State College (304+328=632, +56).

MSU INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
T3.    Ally McDonald                       70+71=141, -3
T6.    Rica Tse                               69+76=145, +1
T25.  Elena Warren                        72+80=152, +8
45.    Mary Langdon Gallagher        78+79=157, +13
60.    Perry Katherine Furr              DQ+76=DQ, +4


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