Three early birdies fueled a hot start for junior Betty Chen's par-72 while her UC Davis teammates put together another consistent round on Saturday as the Aggies vaulted into fifth place at the NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championships at The Concession Golf Club.
Half of the teams were still on the course on Saturday evening when lightning halted play for the second consecutive day before the round could be completed. The Aggies were one of the teams that were able to finish their second round, shooting a 16-over 304 to move into a tie for fifth with Purdue at 33 over.
Top-ranked USC is 14 over and in the lead, fourth-ranked Duke (+23) and Tennessee (+27) is in third. All three teams still need to complete their second rounds. Baylor (+28), UC Davis and Purdue finished and occupy the next three spots.
The top 15 teams after Sunday's third round will play a fourth round of stroke play on Monday. The top eight teams after that will move on to match play starting Tuesday which will determine the national champion.
Teams are still bunched up with just 14 shots separating third through 15th place.
Chen's 72 jumped her 41 spots into a tie for 22nd at 6 over. Junior Andrea Wong and sophomore Paige Lee are tied for 34th at 8 over after shooting 79 and 76, respectively. Senior Beverly Vatananugulkit is tied for 73rd at 13 over after carding a 79 while senior Blair Lewis is 16 over and tied for 88th after finishing with a 77 on Saturday.
"Today was a good day on the course," said Aggie head coach Anna Temple. "We had a strong finish to our first round with both Paige and Andrea each having a birdie. The second round was pretty solid. We got off to a good start and managed to finish strong."
UC Davis had a few holes from Friday's first round to complete on Saturday morning and finished well to shoot 17-over 305. Chen helped the Aggies get off to a good start in the second round, posting back-to-back birdies on her 12th and 13th holes as she played her first nine holes a shot under par. She was just 1 over on her back nine.
Wong's 76 was sparked by an eagle on the par-5 17th that helped her shoot par midway through her round. She was 4 over the rest of the way. Lewis had a birdie on the 17th and was just 1 over after nine holes.Vatananugulkit had two birdies and Lee had one during their second rounds to help highlight their play.
"The Concession Golf Club is in beautiful shape an each hole is challenging," Temple said. "We did a good job learning from our first round and applying that to our second. We look forward to having a bit of a rest and getting back at it tomorrow."
Leader Annie Park is 2 under but still has seven holes to play in her second round. She leads Emma Talley of Alabama, who is 1 under and the only other golfer in the 132-player field in red numbers.
UC Davis will play its third round with Purdue and Baylor beginning at 5:30 a.m. (PDT) on Sunday.
The Aggies are in their fourth NCAA Finals and in the postseason for the sixth consecutive season.