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Daytona, FL - Fairleigh Dickinson sped out to a fast start in its “Drive for Five” at the 2012 Northeast Conference Women’s Golf Championship. The four-time defending champion Knights shot a 305 to surge atop the team standings following the first day of the three-round event at the LPGA International “Champions” Course in Daytona, FL.
Looking to spoil the Knights’ bid for a fifth consecutive NEC team title, LIU Brooklyn fired a 308 and sits three strokes off the lead.
The Blackbirds’ lineup features 2011 NEC individual champion Anna Palsson (Stockholm, Sweden), but it was freshman Cristina Felip (Barcelona, Spain) who carded the lowest score for LIU. While Palsson finished her day with an uncharacteristic 10-over 82 score, Felip shot a 1-over 73 and finds herself tied atop the individual leader board as a result.
FDU sophomore Esther Park (Dumont, NJ/Northern Valley Regional) sits right next to Felip with a share of the lead. Park, an all-NEC first team selection as a freshman, and fellow sophomore Mariana Juaristi (Irapuato, Guanajuato) were the top two performers in Round 1 for a team that is contesting the championship event without three-time NEC Golfer of the Year Michele Holzwarth for the first time since 2007. Juaristi was three strokes off Park’s pace, shooting a 4-over 76.
Annika Karlsson turned in a 5-over 77 to give FDU three of the top-eight players on the individual leader board.
LIU Brooklyn boasts three of the top-10 performers from Friday. Brianna Maynard (Auckland, New Zealand) stands two shots off the tournament lead after firing a 3-over 75. Fellow Blackbird Alice Boothroyd (North Yorkshire, England), a rookie, found herself in a tie for ninth after firing a 6-over 78.
Monmouth, Wagner, and Sacred Heart each have a representative near the top of the individual standings.
SHU senior Carly Bergin (Binghamton, NY/Chenango Valley) matched Maynard’s 3-over 75 and sits in a tie for third with the Blackbird. Wagner’s Ellen Huffan, who won the NEC Golfer of the Week award back on April 18, and Monmouth junior Kelsi Kavanagh (Point Pleasant, NJ/Point Boro) both turned in a 6-over 78 and reside in a fifth-place deadlock with LIU’s Boothroyd.
In terms of the race for the team title, only 10 strokes separate fourth-place Monmouth from Garden State rival Fairleigh Dickinson. Sacred Heart holds third place and needs to make up five strokes to catch FDU. Fifth, sixth, and seventh place belong to Saint Francis (PA), Wagner, and Central Connecticut, respectively with only a difference of three shots in between the Red Flash and Blue Devils.
Round 2 of the NEC Women’s Golf Championship will open with the first of 20 groups teeing off at 8:00 am on Saturday, April 28. Follow @NECwgolf on Twitter for periodic updates.