Brynn Walker’s North Carolina teammates didn’t need her help as the Tar Heels stand in second place following the opening round of the Cougar Classic Sunday at the Yeamans Hall Club in Hanahan, S.C.
Walker, the two-time PIAA Class AAA champion at Radnor High, knew she was joining a strong program in Chapel Hill and the Tar Heels put together a solid 7-under 281 over the 6,224-yard, par-72 Yeamans Hall layout. They trail first-round leader Furman by three shots and are one shot ahead of ACC rival Walke Forest, which is in third place at 6-under 282.
Furman’s 278 total was a school record for a program with a storied history that includes Beth Daniel and Betsy King among its alumni.
Auburn and Central Florida share fourth place at 4-under 284 and another ACC entry, North Carolina State, and Michigan, out of the Big Ten, are tied for sixth at 3-under 285. Penn State is tied for 11th at 3-over 291 in a very strong 21-team field.
While Walker’s 79 didn’t count for North Carolina, it got four sub-par round led by Bryana Nguyen, a junior from Columbia, Md. who fired a 3-under 69 and is part of a nine-player logjam tied for sixth.
Lexi Harkins, a junior from Crystal Lake, Ill. is tied for 15th with a 2-under 70 and Leslie Coots, a senior from Belgium, and Kelly Whaley, a sophomore from Farmington, Conn., each carded a 1-under 71 and are in a group tied for 22nd. Whaley qualified for match play at this summer’s U.S. Women’s Amateur at Rolling Green Golf Club.
Wake Forest’s Sierra Sims, a senior from Austin, Texas, grabbed the lead in the individual standings with a 6-under 66. Sims also made the match-play bracket at Rolling Green.
The Demon Deacons also got a 68 from Antonia Eberhard, a sophomore from Germany who is in a tie for second, two shots behind her teammate. Jennifer Kupcho, a sophomore from Littleton, Colo., is in the tie for 22nd at 1-under 71 and Sierra Brooks, a freshman from Sorrento, Fla. is tied for 88th with a 77. Brooks was the runnerup at the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur and is a member of the 2016 U.S. Curtis Cup team.
Also part of the Wake Forest contingent is Mathilda Cappeliez, the freshman from France who reached the semifinals at Rolling Green. Cappeliez signed an incorrect scorecard and had her round thrown out Sunday, but she and Brooks are strong additions to an already solid team.
Furman was led by Haylee Harford, a sophomore from Leavittsburg, Ohio who is alone in second place in the individual chase, a shot back of Sims with a 5-under 67. The Paladins also have two players in that logjam at 2-under 69, Taylor Totland, a senior from Tinton Falls, N.J., and Natalie Srinivasan, a freshman from Spartanburg, S.C.
Sharing third with Wake Forest’s Eberhard are Auburn’s Michaela Owen, a junior from Suwanee, Ga., and Florida State’s Matilda Castren, a senior from Finland.
Heading up that large group tied for sixth at 3-under 69 is South Carolina’s Katelyn Dambaugh, a senior from Goose Creek, S.C. Dambaugh reached the round of 16 at Rolling Green and was a member of the U.S. team that finished sixth at the recent Women’s World Amateur Team Championship in Mexico.
Penn State was led by Lauren Waller, who lost to Walker in a playoff for the PIAA title as a senior at Canon-McMillan. Waller, a sophomore, carded a 2-under 70 and is tied for 15th.
Kate Granahan, a graduate student from Parkland High, is tied for 36th with a 73 for the Nittany Lions and sophomore Jackie Rogowicz, a two-time District One champion at Pennsbury, and freshman Madelein Herr, the 2015 District One champion as a senior at Council Rock North, each came in at 2-over 74 and are tied for 51st. Herr was Walker’s partner in two deep runs in the first two editions of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship.
Penn State was able to toss a 76 by sophomore Cara Basso, the 2012 PIAA Class AA champion as a sophomore at Villa Maria Academy. She is tied for 81st.