Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
SORRENTO, Fla. - Natalie Johnson shot a 5-over par 77 Sunday to lead the Central Michigan women's golf team in the first round of the Morehead State Citrus Challenge at RedTail Golf Club.
The three-day 54-hole event continues with the second round on Monday and concludes on Tuesday.
CMU shot a 330 team score on Sunday and stands in 20th place in the 20-team field. The Chippewas trail Omaha and Marshall, who are tied for 18th, by eight shots.
Also for CMU on Sunday, Kristen Wolfe and Chloe Guschewski both shot 84, Bria Colosky posted an 85, and Holly Hines carded an 87.
"We're making more pars, which is a good thing, but we're still making some big numbers," CMU coach Cheryl Stacy said. "You can't have doubles and triples."
The Chippewas shot 332 in their opening round of their last event, the Clover Cup, in Mesa, Ariz. They made a 19-shot improvement in their second round in that tournament.
"We're just hopeful for that same improvement that we had last week going into that second round," Stacy said.
Johnson, a sophomore, shot a career-best 76 in the final round last week in Mesa. Her opening-round 77 left her among a group tied for 58th place in the 118-player field at RedTail.
Johnson started on No. 10 and turned at 6-over. She played her inward nine in 1-under.
"On her back nine I think she hit every green," Stacy said. "She was hitting her irons close again. She's playing pretty consistent so I was pleased with that."
Valentina Giraldo of Jacksonville State shot a 7-under 65 in Sunday's opening round and holds a five-shot lead. Jacksonville State posted a 4-over 292 team total and leads by two shots over Ball State, Florida Gult Coast, Elon and Western Kentucky.