SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Virginia senior women’s golfer Beth Lillie (Fullerton, Calif.) overcame a slow start to finish the first round of the NCAA Championships tied for fifth place at even par 72. Playing in the morning wave, Lillie started her round with three consecutive bogeys on the Grayhawk Golf Club course in Scottsdale, Ariz. She then settled down and completed her final 15 holes at 3-under par.
“I was proud of the way I fought and played today especially after my start,” Lillie said. “Out of the gate, I played a little bit hesitant and made three bogeys. I stayed patient and settled in and played the rest of my round really solid. I felt like I played really smart out there today and gave myself a lot of opportunities to make birdies.”
After her opening three holes, Lillie used back-to-back birdies on her next two holes to steady her play. She made the turn at 1-over par before picking up a bogey on her 10th hole. From there, she finished with two birdies and her even-par score.
“Beth did a great job staying patient today and not letting her start affect the rest of her round,” said Virginia head coach Ria Scott. “Instead, she learned from her mistakes and made more decisive swings coming in. She drove the ball well, hit some great iron shots coming in, and had great putting pace all day. She also learned a little more about Grayhawk that she can apply to her strategy tomorrow.”
Lillie, who is ranked the No. 54 player in the nation, is one of 12 individual competitors in the 132-player field. Her score was the best among the non-team associated competitors. She posted five birdies during her round. That ranked as the most for any player in the field.
Stanford’s Rachel Heck, the nation’s second-ranked player, leads the tournament after the opening day. She shot 3-under 69.
This year’s championship marks the third time Lillie has competed at the NCAA Championships. She played in the tournament in both 2018 and 2019 when the Cavaliers qualified as a team. Her best finish was 43rd during her sophomore season.
Following Sunday’s third round, the field will be cut to the top 15 teams and with the top nine individuals not on an advancing team competing for one additional day of stroke play to determine the top eight teams for match play competition and the 72-hole stroke play individual champion.
Golf Channel will provide live coverage from the NCAA Championships on Monday and Wednesday. Live scoring is online at Golfstat.com and NCAA.com.