Olarra Leads After SEC Championship First Round
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (USC SID) — South Carolina women’s golfer Ainhoa Olarra shined in her postseason debut on Friday, carding a career-best 69 (-3) to grab a share of the individual lead after round one of the SEC Championship. The sophomore and junior Katelyn Dambaugh both sit in the top-10 individually for the No. 23 Gamecocks, who posted a 298 (+10) at Greystone Golf and Country Club to end round one in sixth place.
Olarra turned in a near-flawless round, as she recorded just one bogey and finished her day with four birdies. The San Sebastian, Spain, native, who opened tournament play on the par-4 first, made the turn at 2-under (34) following birdies on No. 4 and 6. She opened her back nine with three-straight pars before tallying birdies on the two remaining par-3 holes, No. 13 and 17. Olarra’s par-3 scoring average (2.50) matched the best mark among golfers in the first round.
Dambaugh (T10) played well down the stretch, posting a back-nine total of 35 (-1) on the way to an opening-round 72 (E). Back-to-back birdies on No. 3 and 4 moved her to 2-under in the early going, and she totaled a 37 (+1) on her first nine holes after suffering three bogeys before the turn. The Goose Creek, S.C., native finished on a positive note, carding her final birdie of the day on the par-5 18th.
Junior Jia Xin Yang shook off a pair of early bogeys and played her final five holes at 1-under to notch a 4-over 76 in the opening round. She currently sits in a tie for 32nd after registering birdies on the par-4 seventh and the par-4 16th.
Freshman Marion Veysseyre, the second Gamecock to make her postseason debut at the SEC Championship this week, fired a 9-over 81 and sits in 63rd place after one round of competition. Senior Sarah Schmelzel opened with a 10-over 82 to end her day in a tie for 64th place. Veysseyre and Schmelzel each carded one birdie in the first round.
No. 1 Alabama grabbed the lead on day one after totaling a 286 (-2). The Crimson Tide are the only school under par at the tournament, while No. 7 Florida (292, +4) and Missouri (295, +7) round out the top three. Olarra shares the individual lead with the Gators’ Maria Torres.
SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTS
T1. Ainhoa Olarra 69 (-3)
T10. Katelyn Dambaugh 72 (E)
T32. Jia Xin Yang 76 (+4)
- Marion Veysseyre 81 (+9)
T64. Sarah Schmelzel 82 (+10)
- Alabama 286 (-2)
- Florida 292 (+4)
- Missouri 295 (+7)
- Georgia 296 (+8)
- Tennessee 297 (+9)
- South Carolina 298 (+10)
- Texas A&M 299 (+11)
- Arkansas 300 (+12)
- Mississippi 301 (+13)
- Auburn 304 (+16)
T11. LSU 305 (+17)
T11. Mississippi State 305 (+17)
- Vanderbilt 309 (+21)
- Kentucky 312 (+24)
QUOTING HEAD COACH KALEN ANDERSON
“Ainhoa’s round today was awesome, and I’m really proud of her. Katelyn didn’t play her best golf but hung in there. We need to be smart and get our chipping and putting ready to go and go out there and do our thing tomorrow.”
Sophomore Ainhoa Olarra made the most of the par-3 holes down the stretch, notching birdies on No. 13 and 17 on the way to a career-low 69 (-3) for the Gamecocks.
- For the second-straight season, a sophomore carded a round under par for the Gamecocks at the SEC Championship. Olarra’s 69 (-3) was the second-lowest 18-hole score for South Carolina at the league tournament in the last five years.
- Katelyn Dambaugh’s 72 (E) on Friday marked her second-ever round of par or better at the SEC Championship. The junior is tied for first in the field in par-5 scoring (4.50).
- Led by Olarra, South Carolina ranked third in the opening round in par-3 scoring (3.15).
The Gamecocks are back on the course Saturday morning when they resume play at the SEC Championship. South Carolina’s second-round tee times can be found on GolfStat.com.