COUNTRY CLUB, Mo. — In the midst of a downpour, Missouri Western sophomore Allycia Gan left the first green ecstatic with a par save to open up Monday’s opening round of the NCAA Division II Central Regional.
Before she took to the second tee, Gan and the other competitors were redirected to the clubhouse inside the St. Joseph Country Club to start a weather delay.
More than four hours and a few homework assignments later, Gan restarted a round that ended with a 2-under 70 to put her in second place after Day 1.
“Everything went really smooth. I had a lot of confidence today,” Gan said. “I told myself to go all for it, there’s nothing to lose. I’m here alone, just try myself and play the best shot I can every shot. … As long as I did my best, that’s all I can do.”
Due to the conditions, the two groups that finished their opening holes were directed to restart their rounds from the first tee box. Gan wasn’t pleased with the decision because of her up-and-down to secure par.
The mood changed after she birdied No. 1 the second time around.
“I was kind of disappointed because it was a good save for par. I told myself, maybe I’ll get another chance to get a birdie right now,” Gan said. “It was a really good start and was really encouraging.”
Gan went to the par-3 No. 4 back at even and made another par save following a tee shot that landed short of the green, leaving her an uphill chip without a view of the hole.
She followed up with an iron approach on the par-5 sixth that hit the flagstick, leaving her with a tap-in birdie on the toughest hole on the course. She bogeyed the par-3 seventh and was even at the turn.
“Her short game’s great,” Western graduate assistant Wendy Monfort said. “You just try to save par, get the best out of it, or get birdie. It was way easier for her today because she got all her chips close.”
Gan started her scoring on the back nine with a birdie on the par-3 11th, curling in a short putt to get to 1-under.
She was in danger of dropping a stroke on the par-4 15th when her tee shot went right between two trees. She was left with a decision from roughly 140 yards out and decided to split the trees, using the wind to land a shot within 10 feet to save par.
“I thought she could get it over the tree. I’m thinking, the wind’s blowing left to right and it’s gonna bring her ball back, let’s just go for it,” Monfort said. She thought she might hit a 7-iron and punch it under the tree, but it was too risky. … She perfectly hit it.”
Gan smashed her tee shot down the dogleg par-5 17th, leaving her 200 yards from the hole. Her approach shot bounced off a tree, only for a friendly bounce that left her just off the green and allowed her to earn her fourth birdie of the round.
“It was a perfect drive. I boomed my drive,” Gan said. “My second shot, I was so happy for a birdie that it just caught the wind and hit the tree. Thank God it bounced toward the green. I’ll take that.”
The 2-under 70 ties a career low and was one of three under-par rounds Monday. Rogers State’s Jessica Green, the MIAA Player of the Year, leads the field with a 7-under 65.
Arkansas Tech’s Katie Whitfield shot a 1-under.
Rogers State leads the team race with an 11-over score of 299, eight strokes clear of Southwest Oklahoma State and Arkansas Tech.
The second round will begin at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday with Gan teeing off at 10:20 a.m.