Image May 9, 2008–The UNLV women’s golf team picked a great time to turn in its best round of the year, firing even par on Thursday to sit in third place following the opening day of the NCAA West Regional at Lincoln Hills Golf Club. The Rebels had four players card rounds of 72 or better which led to the even-par score of 288, just one stroke behind second-place Tulsa and only five off the pace set by USC, which shot a 283 to grab the first-round lead. The even-par round is the best effort by a UNLV team at a NCAA regional and it tied for the fourth-best round to par in program history. “It is a great opening round for us,” UNLV head coach Missy Ringler said. “Therese Koelbaek (pictured) played very well for us and we got the scores we needed to get from Kasi Lee and Tonya Choate. We just need to focus and take it one round at a time.” The top eight teams in the three-round event move on to the NCAA Finals. Follow the team now with LIVE SCORING.

Koelbaek, the Mountain West Conference’s top rookie, led the charge, carding a three-under 69 on her round that has her tied for third after 18 holes of play. Koelbaek eagled the par-5 10th, and rolled in four birdies in one of her strongest rounds of the year. She is one stroke behind Paola Moreno of USC and Alison Walshe of Arizona, who share the first-round lead with scores of four-under 68.

Also under par after one round for UNLV is sophomore Natasha Krishna, who played her first round at one-under 71, which has her in a group tied for ninth. Krishna played steady golf on Thursday, finishing with 12-straight pars to go with two birdies and a bogey.

Image While the play of those two was expected, a big reason the Rebels are in third place after one day was the performances of Choate and Lee, who turned in two solid rounds. They each shot rounds of two-over 74 and are currently in a group tied for 39th.

Choate’s total was the best of her UNLV career while Lee’s score snapped a string of five-straight rounds of 81 or more. Both players had shot multiple rounds in the 70s this year but not on the same day in the same tournament.

UNLV freshman Alejandra Guacaneme had an up-and-down round with a seven-over 79 which has her tied for 85th after one round. She played her first seven holes of the day at five over, but regrouped and had pars on nine of her final 11.

This is the sixth-straight NCAA Regional appearance for the Rebels in the seven-year history of the program, all of which have come with Ringler as their head coach. UNLV’s highest finish in a NCAA Regional tournament came in 2004, when the Rebels finished second in the East Regional to Duke. The Rebels entered the event seeded 16th.

Report: Bryan Haines, UNLV Asst. Sports Information Director

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