Strandberg Leads Golfweek Program Challenge After Round One
Sept. 11, 2011
Portions of this story were written by assistant Golfweek editor Ryan Lavner.
LITCHFIELD, S.C. -East Carolina was far from an underdog on the women's side of the Golfweek Program Challenge. The Pirates, who finished last season No. 50 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, were 5 under in their last eight holes, shot 1-under 283 and took an eight-stroke lead over James Madison and Texas State after the first round at Caledonia Golf and Fish Club.
"It just snowballed the right way for us on the back nine," said East Carolina coach Kevin Williams. "I thought the course was there for the taking."
Leader Julia Strandberg mixed six birdies with three birdies, playing the last seven holes in 5 under to pace East Carolina with a 3-under 68. For Strandberg it was her career-low round topping her 73 in the first round of the 2010 Windy City Challenge.
Teammates Katie Kirk (freshman) and Fanny Wotle (sophomore) posted even rounds of 71, while senior Amy Otteson fired a two-over par 73. Rounding out ECU's squad was sophomore Faith Hardison, who finished 12-over.
"She (Julia) has been playing good leading up to this and was very relaxed out there," Williams said.
Part of the allure of the Golfweek Program Challenge is that it identifies not only the men's and women's team champion, but the program winner as well - the school with the lowest cumulative score.
Through the opening round, here is how the teams (cumulative) stand in the program division:
1. East Carolina: -8