HICKORY, N.C. – With Maeve Cummins leading the team in a tie for eighth, No. 24/25 Carson-Newman used a 23-over round to hold a share of fourth-place through the first day of the South Atlantic Conference Championship at the Lake Hickory Country Club on Sunday.
"In terms of our score, we are not far away," Carson-Newman coach Suzanne Strudwick said. "We are still right there. This is a tricky course and the teams at the top of the field have experience with this course. I think once we have more course knowledge, we will be better.
"With that lack of familiarity, we did not have our best round for these three days while those other teams had better days. This course is a different style than we typically play so I am still confident that we can get better."
The Eagles were on par for 54 holes in the round, the second-most of all teams, with seven birdies. They were the third-best team on par-4 scoring with a +18 clip of 4.36.
C-N sits 11 strokes out of the lead heading into the second round after a 311 total on Sunday.
Maeve Cummins (Waringstown, Northern Ireland) was the top Eagle through the first round with a 75. She was three-over in the front-nine with a bogey and double bogey in back-to-back holes. She stayed even in the back half thanks to a birdie and bogey, keeping her at three-over for the day.
The SAC Freshman of the Year tied for second in the field on par-5s with a 4.75 average, one-under on such holes. She also fired off 14 par shots.
Anna Davenport (Roswell, Ga.), the lone individual in the entire field, carded a 77 in the first round, tied for 18th. She was just one over through the start of the day with a birdie on the par-4 third before a bogey-double bogey-birdie sequence heading into the turn. Another birdie for the senior to start the back-nine was overshadowed by five bogeys through six holes to go five-over for the round.
The senior's three birdies in the round tied for second-most in the field.
One shot behind Davenport was fellow senior Taylor Hayes (Lake Ozark, Mo.), tied for 18th with a 78. She carded two bogeys before a triple-bogey on the par-5 eighth pushed her to five-over in the front nine. She made up some ground in the back nine after with a pair of birdies but another bogey and a double bogey on the last hole left her at six-over.
The senior tied for the second-best showing on par-3 holes with a one-under clip at 2.75.
Sims was the best of the three in the front nine at two-over on a double bogey with a pair of bogeys and birdies canceling each other out. She tacked on three more bogeys in the back nine with a bogey.
Kinnie carded one of her six bogeys out the gate. She was four-over in the front nine on two bogeys and double bogey. She strung together four-straight bogeys in the back-nine but made birdie on the par-3 17th to give her a 79 on the day.
Like her junior counterpart, Watts was also four-over through the front-nine. She also carded a similar back-nine with a bogey and birdie back-to-back but closed up shop with three bogeys in-a-row.
Host team Lenoir-Rhyne leads the pack at 12-over heading into Monday. Wingate is one shot back in second while Coker sits in third at 22-over. Anderson is tied with C-N at fourth to round out the top-five of the field.
On the player side, Wingate's Diana McDonald had an even day, leaving her at the top of the leaderboard. Lenoir-Rhyne's Abbey Hartsell is second at one-over while five players are tied for third at two-over.
The tournament continues Monday with the second round of action. Carson-Newman will begin teeing off at 8 a.m. The teams will play in a double tee setup in hopes of dodging impending weather before the afternoon. Live scoring from the Catawba Springs Golf Course will be available throughout the day before a full recap with results makes its way to cneagles.com following the round.