April 24, 2012
GULF SHORES, Ala. -- First-round leader Caitlin Watts recorded the first eagle of the 2012 Conference USA Women's Golf Championship in Tuesday's second round as the UAB sophomore stayed in contention for medalist honors.
Watts will enter Wednesday's third and final round alone in third place at 2-over par (146) for the tournament, three shots off the pace of Tulsa's Marita Engzelius. As a team, UAB dropped back one spot Tuesday and will begin the final 18 holes at the Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club in ninth place in the 10-team field.
The Blazers posted a team score of 315 in Tuesday's second round and own a two-day total of 636. The fourth-place through ninth-place teams -- East Carolina, SMU, Memphis, UTEP, Marshall and UAB -- are separated by a total of 15 strokes entering the final day of the tournament.
Tulsa will take the lead into Wednesday's closing 18 holes with a total team score of 590, seven strokes ahead of second-place Tulane (597) and nine ahead of third-place UCF (599).
"I feel like we are in good shape to move up tomorrow," UAB head coach Kim Wilcox said. "There are a lot of teams bunched up in the middle of the leaderboard, and we'll try to climb as many spots as we can. Caitlin was able to hold her round together today and is certainly right in the mix heading into the final day."
Watts' eagle came at the 12th hole -- the third hole of the day for UAB, which again teed off on the back nine -- when she holed out from 176 yards away. The shot took her to 3-under par and briefly gave her a two-stroke lead on the field.
The LaGrange, Ga., product then bogeyed four of her next eight holes to fall out of the top spot on the leaderboard before steadying the round with pars on six of her final seven to close with a score of 76 and remain within striking distance of Engzelius.
Tulane's Maribel Porras-Lopez is in second place at 1-over, followed by Watts in third. SMU's Felicia Espericueta and UCF's Katie Mitchell round out the top five with both players tied at 3-over for the tournament.
UAB junior Jaime Ritter was climbing up the leaderboard early in the day, making the turn at 1-under par for her round to move into the top 10, but a rough second nine left her with a score of 80. Ritter, who has played her first nine -- the back nine -- in even-par over the first two days, is tied for 26th place at 14-over (158) for the tournament.
Freshman Holly Robinson matched Ritter with an 80 on Tuesday an sits in a tie for 42nd place at 23-over par (167), while junior Lindsey Gipson finished round two with a score of 90 and is tied for 46th at 32-over (176).
Freshman Margaret Yeh posted the second-best score of the day for the Blazers with a 7-over par 79, helping UAB improve its team score by six strokes over its day-one performance.
The tournament concludes Wednesday as both the team and individual conference champions will be crowned. UAB will be grouped with Marshall and Southern Miss for the final round with their tee times beginning at 8:20 a.m.