The Lady Vols golf team teed off its season in stride Sunday in Charleston, S.C., taking an early two-stroke lead over Southeastern Conference rival Georgia at the Cougar Classic.
The 10th-ranked Lady Vols posted a team total of 581, third-best in program history, through the first two rounds.
The Cougar Classic, originally scheduled to start Monday, began on Sunday due to increased weather concerns from Hurricane Ophelia. Consequently, 36 holes and the elimination of a practice round left little room for error.
The final round was in progress Monday at publication.
Nicole Smith anchored the Lady Vols Sunday, shooting a tournament-best 71 in both rounds to lead the field into the final round. Competing in her first collegiate tournament, Smith demonstrated no signs of angst during her debut. Smith’s 142 through 36 holes matches the second-lowest total by a freshman in Tennessee history.
Consistent play from Marci Turner, Golda Johansson, and two-time All-American Violeta Retamoza allowed the Lady Vols to maintain a two-stroke lead over Georgia heading into the final 18 holes on Monday.
The Lady Vols finished Sunday with Smith, Turner, and Retamoza all respectively in the top 10, and Smith leading all competitors with a score of 2 under par going into the final 18 holes.