NORMAN, Okla. -- The winds kept blowing and the University of Oklahoma women's golf team continued to score well Wednesday at the NCAA Championships in Tulsa, Okla. The Sooners carded a second-round 287 (+7) at the 6,194-yard, par-70 Tulsa Country Club to retain their overall lead in the 24-team field with two rounds remaining.
OU, in search of its first women's golf national championship, stands at 15 over par (a two-day 575) and holds a three-stroke lead over second-place Duke. The Sooners battled sustained 20-mph winds (gusts at 25-30) and are five shots in front of third-place Arizona State and nine strokes ahead of the fourth-place trio of Arizona, USC and UCLA. USC and UCLA are ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.
Oklahoma’s Alexandra Kaui has been the story of the tournament. The Big 12 Freshman of the Year started the day in fourth place but jumped to the top of the leaderboard after her 3-under-par 67 Wednesday. At 135 (-5), Kaui owns a three-stroke lead over second-place Allyssa Ferrell of Michigan State and Lauren Kim of Stanford. A total of 126 golfers are competing in the event.
Kaui, who recorded a team-high five birdies in Tuesday's opening round, sat at even par in the second round until draining a 118-yard approach shot on the par-4 15th hole for eagle. The freshman then birdied hole 17 to help her secure her lowest round of the spring season. Kaui is attempting to become OU's second women's golf national champion in the last three years.
“I try to think to myself that I’m still in the hunt and I have to keep pressing and keep playing and I try not to relax and think that I’m going to stay here,” Kaui told media after round two. “I try to always believe that I have two more days to keep this streak. I have to work to keep it.”
OU senior Emily Collins rebounded in a big way from day one with her second-round 71 (+1), seven strokes better than her opening-round score. Collins, who was at 2 under par through Wednesday’s first 11 holes, jumped from 79th place to a tie for 50th.
“I was happy to play better today and help the team,” Collins said. “I was more patient with the wind and just went out trying to make pars all day.”
OU’s Anne-Catherine Tanguay fell 10 spots after shooting a 4-over 74 Wednesday, but is still in the top 20 (tied for 18th place). The senior recorded a double-bogey on the second hole but responded with birdies on two of her next five holes.
Senior Chirapat Jao-Javanil shot a second-round 75 (+5). The 2012 NCAA individual champion recorded three birdies Wednesday and is tied for 38th place at 147 (+7).
Sooner senior Kaitlyn Rohrback carded a 78 (+8) for the second straight day and is tied for 102nd place at 156 (+16).
Fifth-year OU head coach Veronique Drouin-Luttrell said she was pleased with her squad’s second-round performance.
“We played pretty solid on the front nine and it was fun overall,” Drouin-Luttrell said. “I saw a lot of good stuff and I’m really proud of the girls. Teeing off on the front nine was good. It was a little bit different than yesterday when we teed off the back nine, but overall it was a good day.”
The Sooners will start the third round of the NCAA Championships Thursday at 12:55 p.m. CT. Live stats are available at NCAA.com.