NORMAN, Okla. (WCBI/MSU Athletics) – Led by a second-consecutive 3-under-par 69 from No. 29 Ally McDonald, the Mississippi State women’s golf team posted a second-round 11-over-par 299 in the NCAA Central Regional at the par-72, 6,298-yard Jimmie Austin OU Golf Course.
MSU’s two-round 15-over 591 earned them a share of sixth place along with No. 16 UC Davis and No. 21 Texas Tech. State is just one stroke back of fourth-place No. 39 Coastal Carolina and No. 15 Arizona State and only two strokes back of third-place No. 9 Florida.
The top eight teams from each regional will advance to the NCAA Championships at the UGA Golf Course in Athens, Ga. MSU has never advanced to the NCAA Championships as a team.
The Lady Bulldogs’ 591 is the program’s lowest postseason 36-hole score, while Friday’s 299 is the third-best postseason round in their history.
“This is an exceptional spot to be in,” said third-year MSU coach Ginger Brown-Lemm. “The golf course was a whole lot more difficult today. They got about an inch and a half of rain last night and it changed everything. The wind direction also changed. We had been playing a southerly wind and playing some of the longer par-4’s down wind, which made them very accessible. With today’s conditions and an extremely wet golf course, it really changed the finishing holes on both nines.
“We did a great job. We played a bit early, which might have been some advantage. We were patient and it paid off”
McDonald’s back-to-back 69’s have earned her the runner-up spot on the leaderboard entering Saturday’s final round. She is only a single stroke back of tourney leader No. 49 Emily Collins (67-70) of Oklahoma.
The sophomore from Fulton, Miss., notched a birdie-bogey-birdie start before posting six consecutive pars. She began her second nine birdieing two of the first three holes and posted another six consecutive pars to end the day.
McDonald owns a final-round scoring average of 72.00, which ranks seventh nationally, while Collins’ final-round average is 75.67.
Mary Langdon Gallagher found her rhythm and posted a season-best 72 on the day. The junior quickly jumped out of the gate with two birdies on her first three holes and effectively managed the tough conditions over the last six holes to post only a 2-over during that stretch.
Sophomore Rica Tse turned in her second straight 76. The New Zealand native managed a 2-over on each nine, just like she did during the first round. Tse has battled a cold much of the week and has posted only a single birdie through two rounds.
Elena Warren and Gabi Oubre’ rounded out the Lady Bulldog leaderboard with a 154 and 158, respectively. Warren posted a career-best 71 Thursday before turning in an 83 Friday, while Oubre’s opening-round 76 was followed by a second-round 82.
The top two players in the tournament field from non-advancing teams will also qualify for the finals as individuals.
Fourth-ranked Oklahoma, the tournament host, is the current leader after firing a 286 Friday for a 569 tourney tally. No. 3 Duke (575) and No. 9 Florida (589) round out the Top 3.
Final-round action is set to begin at 7:30 a.m. CT Saturday with the Lady Bulldogs slated to tee off on hole No. 1 alongside UC Davis and Michigan State.
Live stats and post round results will be available through HailState.com. Fans can also follow the women’s golf program on Twitter, @mstateWG, and on Facebook at facebook.com/mstateWG.
NCAA Central Regional
Second Round – May 10, 2013
1. No. 4 Oklahoma (283-286=569, -7); 2. No. 3 Duke (284-291=575, -1); 3. No. 9 Florida (282-307=589, +13); T4. No. 15 Arizona State (292-297=589, +14); T4. No. 39 Coastal Carolina (293-297=590, +14); T6. Mississippi State (292-299=591, +15); T6. No. 21 Texas Tech (296-295=591, +15); T6. No. 16 UC Davis (291-301=592, +17); T9. No. 27 Michigan State (291-301=592, +16); T9. No. 22 NC State (294-298=592, +16); 11. No. 45 TCU (290-303=593, +17); 12. Wisconsin (292-303=595, +19); 13. No. 33 SMU (296-302=598, +22); 14. No. 41 Wake Forest (299-301=600, +24); T15. No. 28 Iowa State (294-307=601, +25); T15. Indiana (292-309=601, +25); 17. No. 10 Washington (294-308=602, +26); 18. UTSA (302-303=605, +29); 19. No. 34 Campbell (301-310=611, +35); 20. No. 46 Gonzaga (303-309=612, +36); 21. Illinois State (301-318=619, +43); 22. Lamar (303-321=624, +48); 23. Butler (304-326=631, +55); 24. Detroit (312-323=635, +59).
MSU INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
2. Ally McDonald 69-69=138, -6
T30. M. L. Gallagher 76-72=148, +4
T66. Rica Tse 76-76=152, +8
T82. Elena Warren 71-83=154, +10
T105. Gabi Oubre’ 76-82=158, +14