SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Behind the stellar play of graduate student Beth Lillie, the Virginia women’s golf team moved up to a tie for 14th place following Saturday’s second round of competition at the NCAA Championships in Scottsdale, Ariz. Virginia shot 11-over 299, a five-shot improvement from its first-round score, to stand at 27-over 603 after 36 holes of play.
Lillie posted a round of 3-under 69 to move into a tie for second place at 2-under 142 along with Auburn’s Megan Schofill. Stanford’s Rose Zhang, the nation’s top-ranked player, leads the 132-player field at 6-under 138. The top-ranked Cardinal lead the team competition at 5-over 581, four shots ahead of second-place Oregon.
Staring on the first tee, Lillie recorded birdies on the second, seventh, eighth and ninth holes to make her turn at 4-under par. Bogeys on holes 10 and 12 dropped her back to 2-under. She wrapped up her round by driving the par-5, 467-yard 18th hole in two shots and then two putting for a birdie to complete her round.
“I felt comfortable on the front nine,” said Lillie who placed ninth at last year’s NCAA Championships that were also played at Grayhawk Golf Club. “The wind was pretty calm in the morning and that was nice. I hit a couple of close approaches and had a couple of close birdies fall in and I had no bogeys, so that was good. On the back nine, the wind picked up a little bit and made the course a little more difficult. I fought through that but still played pretty well.”
“Beth played very smart solid golf today,” said UVA head coach Ria Scott. “We’ve been very impressed with her mindset all week. She’s accepting that golf at Grayhawk will not be perfect, you need to stay patient for birdies, and surely can’t force anything.”
Lillie’s 69 tied as the fourth best 18-hole score by a Cavalier at the NCAA Championships.
“You don’t really push on this golf course,” she said. “It is not a course you can overpower or try and trick out and beat. Course management is the most important thing out here. You really have to stick to a plan. It is really easy to want to go for something or to veer from your plan. You just have to tough it out with the wind and tough it out with the fast greens. You have to take pars as momentum builders because they really are.”
UVA’s other second-round scores included a pair of 4-over 76s from freshman Amanda Sambach and senior Riley Smyth. Sophomore Jennifer Cleary shot 78 and junior Celeste Valinho posted a round of 82.
Sambach is in 47th place at 150, Cleary is 94th at 155, Smyth is 101st at 156 and Valinho is 129th at 165.
Following Sunday’s third round of stroke play, the 24-team field will be cut to 15 teams for the fourth round. At that point the individual champion will be crowned and the top eight teams will advance to match play that starts Tuesday.
“We have been confident in our game plan, and just need to trust and execute better,” Scott said. “The tournament is far from over and we look forward to another opportunity to make a statement tomorrow.”
The Cavaliers will start their third round at 11:41 a.m. while paired with TCU and San Jose State. Those teams will start play on the first tee. Live scoring is online at Golfstat.com.
Grayhawk Golf Club
Par 71, 6,340 yards
Second Round Results
1. Stanford 289-292-581
2. Oregon 297-288-585
3. Auburn 296-290-586
3. UCLA 295-291-586
5. LSU 296-291-587
6. Texas A&M 292-297-589
7. Florida State 296-295-591
8. Arizona State 302-290-592
8. USC 298-294-592
10. Georgia 303-291-594
11. Purdue 301-299-600
11. Texas 305-295-600
13. TCU 300-301-601
14. San Jose State 307-296-603
14. Virginia 304-299-603
16. Mississippi State 299-306-605
16. Wake Forest 301-304-605
18. South Carolina 306-300-606
19. Oklahoma State 307-300-607
20. Michigan 301-310-611
20. Baylor 301-310-611
22. Arkansas 307-305-612
23. Vanderbilt 308-306-614
23. Alabama 298-316-614
1. Rose Zhang, Stanford 68-70-138
2. Beth Lillie, Virginia 73-69-142
2. Megan Schofill, Auburn 72-70-142
2. Beth Lillie 73-69-142
47. Amanda Sambach 74-76-150
94. Jennifer Cleary 77-78-155
101. Riley Smyth 80-76-156
129. Celeste Valinho 83-82-165