Strong Start Vaults Athenas to Top of NCAA Leaderboard

Kelly Ransom carded a four-over, 77 on Day One of the National Championships.
Kelly Ransom carded a four-over, 77 on Day One of the National Championships.

HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's golf team opened the NCAA Division III National Championships on Tuesday morning at the Mission Inn Resort at El Campeón Golf Course. After one round of play, the Athenas are tied for first place with the Williams Ephs with a team total of 19-over, 311. Margaret Loncki (CMC) and Kelly Ransom (CMC) turned in rounds of 77 (+4) on the par-73 course to lead the Athenas on the first day of competition.

While the Athenas and Ephs are tied on top of the leaderboard, the two teams are 10 strokes clear of a logjam in third place. New York University, Carnegie Mellon, and Carleton are all tied at 29-over, 321 for third after the first day of competition.

Playing alongside Williams and Whitman, the Athenas started their day on the more forgiving back-nine and built a ten-stroke lead on Williams after nine holes. CMS fired a two-over back nine to get their day started, but came back to the field slightly on their second nine while the Ephs heated up down the stretch. The two teams finished tied at the end of Day One at 311 (+19).

As mentioned, Margaret Loncki and Kelly Ransom both turned in rounds of 77 (+4) to lead the Athenas on the day. Ransom made a pair of birdies in the round with one on the front and a second on the back. She was relatively consistent throughout the round, going two-over on both sides of the card. Loncki made three birdies on the day, but a slow start to her second nine soured her day slightly. The senior made the turn at one-under, thanks to back-to-back birdies on the 14th and 15th holes, but two bogies and a pair of doubles followed in the next five holes to move her to five-over on the day. A birdie late in the round ended the day on a positive note for the number-one golfer in the country.

Mira Yoo (CMC) finished the opening round just a stroke behind Loncki and Ransom with a five-over, 78 in her National Championship debut. Yoo was one of three Athenas to birdie the par-five 14th hole on Day One with a four on the 460-yard hole.

Emma Kang (CMC) finished with a round of six-over, 79 on Tuesday for the last countable score for the Athenas in the opening round. Like Loncki, Kang birdied the 14th and 15th holes and went two-under through six holes in the Championship. She went out in 36 strokes (-1) on her first nine holes, but shot a seven-over, 43 on the back en route to the 79.

Emily Attiyeh (CMC) rounded out the Athenas' effort with a 10-over, 83 on Tuesday. After a double bogey on her first hole of the Championship, Attiyeh made seven-straight pars to highlight her round.

After teeing off in the first wave of golfers on Tuesday, the Athenas will be one of the last off the tee in Wednesday's Second Round. The Athenas will go off of the first tee starting at 1:20 p.m. ET/10:20 a.m. PT.