LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida – The Quinnipiac University women's golf team wrapped up the first day of the 2015 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship at Disney's Magnolia Golf Course in Lake Buena Vista, Florida in 4th place out of the eight-team field. Quinnipiac's 317 (+29) edged the 318 it shot at the 2013 Northeast Conference Championship for the best postseason round in school history.
After the first 18 holes of the 54-hole tournament, Albany led the field with a 303 (+15) and held a 13-stroke lead over Dayton and Fairfield, both tied for second place, at 316 (+28). The Bobcats were a stroke behind at 317 (+29) in fourth place, followed by defending champ Siena at 319 (+31), Monmouth at 322 (+34), Hartford at 328 (+40) and Niagara at 331 (+43).
"This is a great event," head coach John O'Connor said. "It's a great challenge for us. The weather is great and the course is very difficult."
Quinnipiac sophomore Nicole Scola (Westerly, Rhode Island) shot the second-best round in the school's postseason history, carding a 76 (+4) through the tournament's first 18 holes for a share of fourth place with four other golfers. The 2014 MAAC Rookie of the Year was lights-out through the tournament's first 10 holes, which included a birdie and nine pars. Starting the day on Hole No. 10, Scola was the only participant in the 40-player bracket to shoot under-par (-1) on the back nine, while her 12 pars for the day were the third most of the field.
"Nicole Scola is a truly unbelievable golfer," O'Connor said. "She had a tough four or five holes to end the day, but I have no doubt that she'll come back tomorrow strong and shoot another low round to lead us."
Taylor Lambrou (Baldwin, New York) shot the second-best round of her career with a 78 (+6) on the first day of the MAAC Championship, and sat tied for 10th at the day's end. Lambrou also started on Hole No. 10 and parred five of her first nine holes, while a pair of double-bogeys plagued her start. Lambrou hit the turn at +6, and after a bogey on Hole No. 1, shot -1 over the final eight holes –highlighted by a birdie on No. 3 - to finish even on the front nine. Lambrou also matched Scola's 12 pars for the day, and was one of three players to shoot -1 on the course's Par 3 holes.
"Taylor Lambrou had a really special day," O'Connor said. "She loves the pressure of these big matches at the end of the year and has done well in conference play over her career, but to shoot a 78 is very special and I'm very proud of her."
Emily Ribbins (Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands) tied for 15th with a 79 (+7) after parring 11 of 18 holes played. Ribbins parred the first four holes of the day before bogeying three of the last five on the front nine to hit the turn at +3. After a bogey on Hole No. 1, she parred the next five holes and sat at +4 with three holes to go. She went on to bogey each of the last three holes to complete the first round at +7.
"Emily Ribbins hung in and shot a 79 - which is phenomenal," O'Connor said. "The last couple of holes is where she had trouble. It's tough to maintain your focus when it's very hot and you're close to being dehydrated, but the team has done a great job. I'm very proud of them and looking forward to tomorrow."
Playing in her fourth MAAC Championship round, junior captain Jenn Whaley (Farmington, Connecticut) finished with an 84, for a tie of 27th place, which matched her previous best round in postseason history. Freshman Estefania Morales (Caracas, Venezuela) was tied for 35th with an 87 for the first round.
Quinnipiac will return to action on Saturday, Apr. 24 with the second 18 holes of the 54-hole Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship at Disney's Magnolia Golf Course.