SAN MARCOS, Texas – University of Houston senior Annie Kim fired a 68 in the First Round and was tied for 14th to lead the Cougars following the first day of the Jim West Challenge at Kissing Tree Golf Club on Sunday.
Starting her day off No. 10 on the 6,287-yard, par-72 course, Kim endured a bogey on her first hole but quickly returned to even par with a birdie on the par-4 11th hole.
The Seoul, South Korea, native rallied from another bogey on No. 13 to drain birdies on four of her next five holes to cap her first nine.
After a bogey on No. 1, Kim made birdies on two holes in a three-hole stretch at Nos. 3-5. Despite her final bogey of the round on No. 6, Kim closed her First Round with a birdie on the 280-yard, par-4 ninth hole.
Kim tied her career-low round, set in the Second round of the School Fall Classic on Sept. 28, 2019. She also equaled the Cougars’ low round of the season, first set by All-American Karen Fredgaard in the Second Round of the Sam Golden Invitational on Sept. 13.
As a team, the Cougars opened the tournament at 4-under 284 and stood in 10th with a score of 576.
Senior Ariana Saenz was tied for 27th at even-par 144. The Porter, Texas, native opened the tournament with a 71 in the morning and moved into red numbers late in her First Round with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 8-9.
Like Saenz, sophomore Delaney Martin used a strong late finish in her First Round to tie for 31st at 145. Standing 1-over through 14 holes, the Boerne, Texas, native birdied three of her final four holes to post a 70 in her opening round.
After shooting 75 in the morning, sophomore transfer Nicole Abelar bettered her First-Round score by four strokes with a 71 in the afternoon. The Metro Manila, Philippines, native drained the Cougars’ low eagle of the day with on the 473-yard 17th hole and followed that with a birdie.
Abelar added her final birdie of the day on the par-5 fifth hole to tie for 36th at 146.
Senior Maria Jose Martinez stood in 70th at 154.
Oklahoma State held the first-day lead at 547 with TCU (557), Florida State (561), Texas Tech (567) and Miami (Fla.) (568) rounding out the Top Five. UNLV (573), Oklahoma (573), Tulsa (575) and Texas A&M (575) completed the Top Nine.
Oklahoma State’s Caley McGinty and TCU’s Caitlyn Macnab were tied for first at 12-under 132 after shooting 65-67 on Sunday. Florida State’s Alice Hodge was in third at 134, while Oklahoma State’s Isabella Fierro stood in fourth at 136.
The Final Round tees off at 8:30 a.m., Monday, with a shotgun start, on the 6,287-yard, par-72 course.
This is the final fall tournament of the season for the Cougars.
Fans can watch the Cougars on ESPN+ with coverage on hole No. 9, No. 13, No. 14 and No. 18. Brant Freeman (play-by-play) and Kaitlyn Sirman (analyst) will call the action
Monday’s complete Final Round will be shown, beginning at 8:30 a.m.
Fans can follow live scoring at the Jim West Challenge by clicking here.
For Monday’s Final Round, the Cougars will play in groups with student-athletes from Texas State and Kent State.
Saenz will begin the day in the first group off No. 13 with Kim (second group of No. 13), Abelar (first group off No. 14), Martin (second group off No. 14) and Martinez (No. 15).
Fans can find complete Final-Round pairings by clicking here.
Following the Jim West Challenge, Houston will take its winter break before opening the spring season at the UCF Challenge on Feb. 6-8 at Eagle Creek Golf Club in Orlando.
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