Knight cards even-par round, Blue Raiders in second at SBC Championship

Second round play begins on Tuesday

April 16, 2012 · Athletic Communications
MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. - Allie Knight may have been playing in her first-ever conference championship event, but the freshman certainly didn't look the part on Monday, carding an even-par opening round to help the second place Middle Tennessee women's golf team to strong first round showing at the Sun Belt Championship at The Fighting Joe Course in Muscle Shoals, Ala.

Knight is currently tied for sixth in the 55-player field.

"I played pretty well overall," Knight said. "The wind was definitely a factor, but I think I hit the ball pretty well today. I had three three-putts, but that was probably the only bad thing. I just focused on hitting fairways and greens and trying to stay positive. I have two days left."

"Allie is just so steady out there on the course, and I'm thrilled she's on my team," Adams said. "She's never out of it. She is a fairway and green machine, and she just doesn't make a lot of mistakes. When you get that kind of play out of a freshman, it's certainly a bonus."

Individually, FIU's Katie Mundy leads the pack after shooting a three-under 69.

As a team, the Blue Raiders ended the day with a score of 295, seven strokes off the pace of eight-time defending champion Denver, who put up an even-par round of 288.

"We had some rain, but the conditions were absolutely perfect for scoring today," Adams said. "The scores for everyone are better than I expected, but if the worst score you count on a course like this is a 75, you have to be pretty pleased."

Ashley Haggard had a nice outing as well, finishing strong with birdies on the 15th and 18th holes to move into a tie for ninth after a one-over round of 73.

"Ashley was three-over coming down the stretch, but then she saves par on 14 and birdies 15," Adams said. "She's another player who you can never really count out. She's a gamer, and she'll always give you everything she has."

Olivia Love got off to an inauspicious start, double-bogeying the second hole, but the junior responded with back-to-back birdies on seven and eight to make the turn at even-par. The back nine was not as kind to Love, but she still finished with a three-over 75.

Karisa Akin picked up 14 pars and a birdie to end with a three-over 75 as well.

The duo is currently tied for 12th.

Natalie Chrisopulos, who was making her first conference championship appearance, got started with six consecutive pars before bogeying the seventh hole. The sophomore ended her day with a five-over 77.

MT will return to play on Tuesday with the second round from The Shoals Golf Club's Fighting Joe Course. Live scoring will be available at Golfstat.com with further coverage available via Twitter.com/MTWomensGolf.

1. Denver - 288 (E)
2. Middle Tennessee - 295 (+7)
3. North Texas - 296 (+8)
4. FIU - 298 (+10)
5. UALR - 302 (+14)

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.