|Poplawski tied for lead|
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – University of Idaho senior Teo Poplawski had her best round of the fall in firing a three-under 69 to tie for first after the opening round of the Price’s Give ‘Em Five Intercollegiate at New Mexico State University.
Poplawski was joined among the leaders by fellow Vandal Kayla Mortellaro, whose two-under 70 (a tie for third) helped the Vandals head into the second round with in third place with a two-over 290. Long Beach State leads the tournament at 287 with Baylor second at 288.
“We played well today from tee to green,” coach Lisa Johnson said. “It was great to see everyone come together and shoot a good team score.”
Leilanie Kim is tied for 27th at three-over 75 with Rachel Choi just one stroke back at 76 and tied for 37th. Kaitlyn Oster is tied for 56th at 78 and Mary Sweeney fired an 81 to tie for 71st with two rounds to play.
Johnson said the key to Poplawski’s round was her decision to leave her driver at the hotel and stick with a three-wood off the tee. The strategy worked as she and Mortellaro tied for second in scoring on the par-4s. The senior pair was joined in notching the second most birdies for their opening rounds (four apiece) by Rachel Choi as the Vandals were second-best for the tournament with a team total 14. They also were second in par-4 scoring at eight-over.
Johnson said the key as the Vandals continue through the final two rounds is focus.
“This golf course is very score-able,” she said. “We need to stay in the present – just play one shot at a time.”