CHAPEL HILL, N.C.- The University of North Carolina women's golf team moved into first place at the Ruth's Chris Tar Heel Invitational at UNC Finley Golf Course. The Tar Heels shot a 5-over-par 293 in the second round to put them at an overall score of 581. Sophomore Maia Schechter led the Tar Heels in the second round with a 1-under 71, moving up to fourth place in the individual race.
"It was a good day," North Carolina head coach Jan Mann said. "We played well for most of the day with everybody contributing once again. Overall, I think the team did pretty well. I would like to see us finish a little stronger tomorrow. We didn't finish quite as well as I would like for us to."
Schechter, from Takoma Park, Md., birdied two of the last three holes to finish the round with a 1-under 71. Schechter's 1-under 143 total after two rounds moves her into fourth place from a tie for ninth. Junior Casey Grice, from College Station, Texas, who carded three birdies in the round, shot a 1-over 73, pushing her to a tie in seventh place in the individual race with a 1-over 145 total. Freshman Elizabeth Mallett shot 1-under on the front nine, but finished the round with a 1-over 73. The Sutton Coldfield, England, native improved from a tie for 20th to a tie for 16th with a 3-over 147 total. Jackie Chang, a junior from Paradise Valley, Ariz., fell from a tie for third place to a tie for 14th after shooting a 4-over 76 to put her total at a 2-over 146. Junior Katherine Perry, from Cary, N.C., also shot a 4-over 76 and is tied for 36th place at 151.
"Maia Schechter played particularly well today," Coach Mann said. "This is her fourth event of her career, and each time we're seeing more and more confidence, and she's getting better and better, so we're excited for her."
Freshman Samantha Marks, from Maitland, Fla., playing as an individual, shot a 2-over 74 and is tied for 24th at 5-over 149. Senior Courtney Gunter moved up to a tie for 74th with a score of 157 after shooting a 5-over 77 in the second round. Senior Michelle Ahn shot a 9-over 81 for the day and is tied for 83rd with a 17-over 161.
Hayley Davis of Baylor continues to lead in the individual race. Davis shot a 1-over 73 in the second round, pushing her total to a 4-under 140. Florida's Isabelle Lendl improved to second place with a 3-under 141 after shooting a 1-under 71 for the day. Tara Lyons of Louisville moved into third place from a tie for ninth with a total score 142. North Carolina's Schechter is just one stroke behind in fourth place at a 1-under 143. Virginia's Brittany Altomare and Mississippi's Haley Sanders are tied for fifth place at even-par 144. Carolina's Grice is one of seven golfers tied for seventh place with a score of 1-over 145.
"It was fun out there," Tar Heel Maia Schechter said. "The course is looking really good. The greens are really nice. Some of the pins were in difficult positions, so you had to play smart. When the opportunity came, I took advantage of it, and I think the team did the same. We just let the field fall back, and just played steadily."
The second round of play also featured two holes in one. Ana Menendez of NC State sunk a 165-yard par-3 on hole 14. Louisville's Katie Petrino fired an ace on hole 12, a 187-yard par-3 hole.
North Carolina improved to first place with a score of 5-over 581. Baylor is in second place, 10 strokes behind with a two-day total of 591. Florida moved into third place after shooting a 4-over 292 in the second round of play, putting them at a 17-over 593 total. Virginia and NC State are two strokes behind and tied for fourth place after two rounds.
"Based on our preview tournament, we really didn't think about what place we were in or how we were compared to the other teams," Coach Mann said. "If we can take that same thought into [the final] round- we're not going out protecting a lead, we're just simply going out and playing our game- I think we'll do very well."
The final round of the Ruth's Chris Tar Heel Invitational will be played Sunday at UNC Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill. The shotgun start will begin at 9:15 a.m. on the par 72, 6,379-yard layout. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend. Live scoring is also available on GoHeels and Golfstat.com.