Franklin, TN -
After struggling in tough playing conditions for most of the day, the 27th-ranked Virginia women's golf team used a furious finish to remain in second place midway through the 72-hole NCAA Championships. The Cavaliers shot 6-over 294 Wednesday on the Vanderbilt Legends Club for a 36-hole total of 6-over 582.
Top-ranked UCLA and sixth-ranked North Carolina are tied with Virginia for second place. Alabama leads the 24-team field at 3-under 571. The second-ranked Crimson Tide shot 3-under 285 to take an 11-shot lead into Thursday's third round. Alabama's Brooke Pancake leads the stroke play competition at 6-under 138.
Playing in the afternoon wave, the Cavaliers started their round on the back nine, considered the tougher half of the course. Virginia made the turn at 4-over and saw that score balloon to 10-over as no player managed a birdie on holes one through five.
That's when the team got hot.
Sophomore Elizabeth Brightwell, who had her round disqualified Tuesday for signing an incorrect scorecard, made a birdie on the No. 7 hole and finished with an eagle on No. 9 to get back to 2-over 74 for the day.
Senior Lauren Greenlief finished with three birdies on her final four holes to close out the round at even par 72, the Cavaliers' best second-round score.
Freshman Briana Mao and junior Brittany Altomare each birdied their final hole to allow UVa to play the day's final two holes at a combined 6-under par.
"The course did play difficult today," said Virginia coach Kim Lewellen. "I think the later you are playing, the course gets harder. The greens are a lot firmer. You'll hit them and the ball will just roll off. We had a lot of longer putts today."
Sophomore Portland Rosen, who held the tournament's first round lead after shooting a school record 6-under 66 Tuesday, dropped back to third place. She finished the day at 3-over 75 for a two-day total of 3-under 141.
"It was night and day," Rosen said. "Yesterday if you hit a ball 140 yards, it went 140 yards. Today if you hit it 140 yards, it went 160 yards. That's how firm the greens were."
Altomare finished the day at 1-over 73 and is in 13th place at even par 144. In her previous two trips to the NCAA Championships she placed 15th as a freshman and 12th as a sophomore.
Greenlief moved up to 25th place at 2-over 146 and Mao used her 3-over 75 to improve to 75th at 152.
"They hung in there today," Lewellen said. "If they missed the greens they made a lot of up-and-downs and made some putts. They played strong down the stretch. The last hole was set up to possibly have an eagle and definitely have a birdie and we took advantage of that."
Virginia placed fourth at last year's NCAA Championships, the best showing in the program's nine-year history. Lewellen's team is in position to improve on that performance with two rounds remaining to be played.
The Cavaliers will tee off at noon CT Thursday from the first tee while paired with Arizona State and South Carolina. Live scoring of the tournament is online at Golfstat.com. A free webcast of the tournament's No. 9 and No. 18 holes will be online at NCAA.com starting at noon CT.
2012 NCAA Championships
Vanderbilt Legends Club - North Course
Par-72, 6,377 yards
Second Round Results
1. Alabama 286-285-571
2. UCLA 292-290-582
2. North Carolina 290-292-582
2. Virginia 288-294-582
5. Arizona State 292-291-583
5. South Carolina 302-281-583
7. USC 297-288-585
8. LSU 293-294-587
9. Purdue 293-295-588
10. Vanderbilt 306-284-590
11. Duke 289-302-591
12. Texas 297-295-592
13. NC State 299-294-593
13. Oklahoma 294-299-593
15. Colorado 297-298-595
15. Florida 302-293-595
17. Pepperdine 306-293-599
17. Texas A&M 301-298-599
19. Baylor 299-304-603
20. Arkansas 303-301-604
21. Michigan State 296-311-607
21. Tennessee 300-307-607
23. Ohio State 303-307-610
24. Stanford 309-304-613
1. Brooke Pancake, Alabama 68-70-138
2. Giulia Molinaro, Arizona State 69-71-140
3. Katie Burnett, South Carolina 74-67-141
3. Brittany Marchand, NC State 71-79-141
3. Portland Rosen, Virginia 66-75-141
6. Chirapat Jao-Javanil, Oklahoma 69-73-142
6. Stephanie Meadow, Alabama 69-73-142
6. Madelene Sagstrom, LSU 70-72-142
3. Portland Rosen 66-75-141
13. Brittany Altomare 71-73-144
25. Lauren Greenlief 74-72-146
75. Briana Mao 77-75-152
na Elizabeth Brighwell DQ-74-na