Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
YORKTOWN, Ind. - The scores fall, the records fall, and the Chippewas are making their way up the leaderboard.
The Central Michigan golf team shot 306-307 - 613 on Monday during the opening two rounds of the season-opening Ball State Cardinal Classic The Players Club.
The Chippewas are in 13th place in the 16-team event, just 10 shots out of the top 10. The 306 the Chippewas posted in the opening round is a program record, bettering by five shots the previous best (311) set last fall at the Toledo Rocket Classic. The 307 is the second-best round on the CMU record books.
CMU's 613 is also a program best for 36 holes, topping the 626 the Chippewas carded last fall at the Rocket Classic. Of the Chippewas' 10 rounds on Monday, nine were in the 70s.
"I'm happy," CMU coach Cheryl Stacy said. "We had some good rounds, some good holes. They feel like there's room for improvement so they're motivated.
"When we played our practice round, we looked good and hit a lot of greens. The ability's there now and they're starting to get confidence. It's a good way to start off the first tournament of the season. That's huge for us, a confidence builder."
Senior Natalie Johnson shot 6-over-par 76-74 - 150 to lead the Chippewas, and she is tied for 32nd in the 99-player field. Freshman Jami Laude, playing her first collegiate event, tied Johnson for low round of the day among the Chippewas, posting an opening-round 74. She closed with a 79, and stands at 9-over 153.
Johnson's 74 was one shot off her career best.
"My expectations are high for Natalie because she's so steady and she works hard," Stacy said. "When I see those scores I'm not surprised. Happy for her and I think she'll be a good leader throughout the year.
"Jami, she played very poised. I think she was actually a little disappointed, I think she felt like she could have gone even lower. She's been playing very confidently."
Also for CMU, Kristen Wolfe shot 79-76 - 155, Holly Hines came in at 77-79 - 156, and Danielle Sawyer finished at 80-78 - 158.
Indianapolis leads the tournament at 7-under after shooting 283-286 - 569. Bradley is second at even par, seven shots back, while Toledo is third at 4-over.
Jacinta Pikunas of Akron finished at 6-under, 66-72 - 138, and tops the leaderboard. She holds a three-shot lead over Kennedy Holtsclaw of Indianapolis.
The third and final round is scheduled for Tuesday.