STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Chattanooga senior Maria Juliana Loza continued her strong play in the NCAA East Regional Friday, shooting a par 72 on the Penn State Blue Course, keeping alive her bid to advance to the nationals as an individual.
Loza is at 1-over-par 145 through 36 holes, tied for sixth among individuals.
As a team, the Mocs are in 21st place, a shot clear of Jacksonville State and four behind Northwestern. UTC improved five shots on its first round total with a 306 on Friday.
Loza’s 36-hole 145 is her best score in regional play. She started her day with a birdie on 10 and headed into the par-3 fourth (her 13th hole) at even. She knocked it in tight and made her birdie. That was followed with a 12-foot birdie on five to get to minus two for the round. Loza bogeyed seven and eight for her final tally of 72.
As Loza looks for her second top 10 in NCAA Regional play, the Mocs battled the windy conditions. Marion Duvernay and Jordan Britt both shot 77. Duvernay is at 154, while Britt is a stroke back. Sophie Weilguni shot an 80 Friday. Mette Kryger’s score wasn’t counted in the Lady Mocs’ team total.
No. 25 South Carolina (582) leads the regional by seven over No. 2 Alabama (589). The Crimson Tide was led by a pair of 72s shot by Brooke Pancake, the senior from Chattanooga, and Stephanie Meadow. Pancake made three birdies and three bogeys on her opening nine holes before settling down and making nine straight pars to conclude her round. She is 3-over at 147 and tied for 13th.
No. 15 Florida (591) is another two shots behind in third. Texas A&M's Katerina Ruzickova remains in the individual lead at 4-under par. South Carolina's duo of Katie Burnett and Justine Dreher are tied for second at minus one.
Loza is just a shot out of advancing to the NCAA Championship May 22-25 in Franklin, Tenn. Charlotte Lorentzen (Georgia State) and Natalie Wille (Augusta State) are tied at par 144 and are the top two individuals on non-qualifying teams. Only two individuals advance. Loza and Casey Kennedy of Augusta State are close, and several players are within another stroke or two.
Chattanooga's final round starts on the first hole at 12:55 p.m., Saturday. Kryger leads off followed by Weilguni (1:06), Britt (1:17), Duvernay (1:28) and Loza (1:39). Live scoring of the round can be found on the GoMocs.com women's golf schedule page.