GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Right when it seemed like California Baptist University's national championship hopes were about to slip away, the Lancers made a turn--literally.
The five Lancers combined to shoot +23 on their first nine, but the group rebounded and shot nine strokes better on their back nine to rally back into contention at the halfway point of the 2011 NAIA Women's Golf National Championships.
The 72-hole tournament is being played at the par-73 Links Hills Country Club in Greeneville, Tenn.
The Lancers, who were in second place when the suspended first round finished around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, followed up yesterday's 319 with a 314 to sit tied for fourth place with defending national champion British Columbia after 36 holes.
Their two-day total of 633 is +49 and just six strokes behind current leader Lubbock Christian (Texas), which shot a tournament-best 302 today and is at 627 (+43). Embry-Riddle (Fla.) and Shorter (Ga.) both shot 305 today. Embry-Riddle is second with a 628 (+44), while Shorter is third with a 631 (+47).
"We struggled a little bit early but were able to hold it together with some damage control," said CBU Head Coach Lane Pace.
Koizumi was steady all day, posting 14 pars and trimming six strokes off her score from yesterday. She finished with a 78 today. She had seven pars on her first nine and then recorded pars on each of her final six holes to finish +5 for the day.
Meanwhile Keyser rebounded from her opening-round 92 with a solid 81 today, trimming 11 strokes. She played both sides at +4, keyed by birdies at one and eight.
"Kirsten and Sara both stepped up today," said Pace. "Sara's 14 pars were impressive, she came through today. Their contributions really made up for Adriana's struggles. She wasn't feeling well, and it showed."
Niclotti was sitting in the top five at the end of the first round but had to grind through her 18 today. She went out in +5 and finished with an 82 (+9), dropping from fifth place to 21st.
Defending champion Nathalie Silva made a strong statement with an even-par 73 today. She was one of just four players in the entire field to shoot par or better today, and now sits just two strokes behind current leader Kylie Barros of British Columbia, who lead with a 147 (+1).
Silva is alone in second with a 149 (76-73), one stroke ahead of round one leader Jamie Palermo of William Woods (Mo.), who followed up yesterday's 69 with an 81. Silva recorded four birdies and played her back nine in -2 (35). She began her day with a birdie but followed that up with a double-bogey six in which she four-putted.
She played her final 14 holes at -1 as she looks to become
the first player in NAIA history to win back-to-back national titles.
"Nathalie held us together, getting us a low score to keep us among the leaders," said Pace.
Samantha Katz, who posted an 83 yesterday, shot an 84 (+11) today. She played her first nine at +6 and seemed headed for a great second nine when she birdied her 10th hole. However, she posted a double-bogey six and then had bogeys on three of her final four holes.
Still, the Lancers, who have third place finishes in their past two national championships, are well within striking distance of their first title. In fact, the top six teams are all within a nine-stroke window, five of them within six strokes.
"We're right there in the hunt," said Pace. "Hopefully, Adriana will wake up tomorrow feeling better, and she can help us gain some ground."
The Lancers tee off the third round at 1 p.m. (EDT) and are paired with British Columbia and Oklahoma City.