May 6, 2010
NORMAN, Okla. - University of Oklahoma golfer Ellen Mueller shot a first-round 76 (+5) at the NCAA West Regional in Stanford, Calif., Thursday.
The junior is in a tie for 47th place out of 122 competitors at the 6,115-yard, par-71 Stanford Golf Course.
Mueller, representing the Sooners individually, felt confident after her first 18 holes of post-season play.
“I played pretty solid today but couldn’t get any birdies to fall,” Mueller said. “I’m looking forward to a good round tomorrow.”
Mueller played strong off the tee and on the fairway, yet struggled adjusting her short game to the course’s greens.
“Ellen hit the ball great today,” said OU head coach Veronique Drouin. “She had plenty of birdie opportunities but only one went in. The greens are getting firmer and faster.”
After an afternoon practice on the putting green, Mueller and Drouin look forward to tomorrow’s second round.
“There’s a lot of golf ahead for her,” Drouin added.
Mueller, a native of Evansville, Ind., began the day on the back nine where she bogeyed her first two holes. She fought back the remainder of the round, registering par on five of the next six holes.
After finishing with a 40 (+4) on her opening nine, the junior played strong the rest of the way by posting a 36 (+1) on holes 1 through 9. Her lone birdie of the day came on the par-4 fifth hole.
Mueller, who was recently named to the 2009-10 All-Big 12 Team, holds a 74.52 season stroke average, a program best. She has posted six top-10 finishes and four top-five finishes in 2009-10.
In order to advance to the NCAA Championships, Mueller must finish among the top two individuals among 16 non-advancing teams and the other two individual regional qualifiers.
Virginia and Arizona lead the 24-team field after each fired a 7-over 291. UCLA and California are tied for third place, one stroke behind the leaders.
Individually, five of the 122 golfers finished the first round under par. Leading the field is San Jose State sophomore Madeleine Ziegert, who completed the course in 67 shots (-4).
Mueller is grouped with the two other individual competitors, North Dakota State’s Amy Anderson (+6 through 18 holes) and Minnesota’s Teresa Puga (+3). The group will start Friday’s second round at 3:15 p.m. CT.
Continuing coverage of Mueller's play at the 2010 NCAA West Regional will be available at SoonerSports.com and on the OU women’s golf program’s new Twitter page, twitter.com/OU_WomensGolf. Live stats are available at GolfStat.com.