French Lick, Ind. - Cassidy Stelzmiller matched the best round of her career to lead the Nebraska women's golf team to the No. 2 spot in the team standings after the first round at the Big Ten Championships on Friday.
Stelzmiller, a third-year sophomore from Placerville, Calif., fired the only even-par round among the 72 individuals in the tournament to take the early lead after the first 18 holes on the par-72, 6,017-yard layout of the Pete Dye Course at the French Lick Resort.
Stelzmiller's 72 matched the even-par rounds she shot in all three rounds of the Westbrook Spring Invitational in Peoria, Ariz., Feb. 23-24. Playing out of the No. 5 position in the Husker lineup in the six-count-four format, Stelzmiller produced 12 pars, three bogeys (9, 12, 15) and three birdies (5, 11, 13).
Stelzmiller, who joined the Huskers in starting on the back nine on the Dye Course, was one-under through 17 holes before closing her round with a bogey on No. 9.
Stelzmiller powered the Huskers to a team score of 302, just one stroke behind the team leaders from Ohio State (301).
Stelzmiller owns a one-stroke lead over OSU's Jessica Porvasnik (73) in the individual standings, while the Buckeyes' Zoe-Beth Brake and Michigan State's Allyssa Ferrell are tied for third at 74.
The Huskers also got a huge contribution from the No. 6 spot in their lineup, as fellow redshirt sophomore Morgan Smejkal notched the second-best round of her career with a three-over-par 75. The Columbus, Neb., native recorded nine pars and six bogeys to go along with three birdies on Friday. She sits in a seven-way tie for fifth entering Saturday's second round in French Lick.
While the bottom of the Husker lineup fueled Nebraska's surge toward the top of the team leaderboard, seniors Katelyn Wright and Steffi Neisen rallied late in the round to complete the first-round scoring for the Big Red.
Wright played the final 10 holes at one-over-par after starting three-over through eight. The Incline Village, Nev., native finished her round at four-over-par 76 to sit in a tie for 12th place.
Neisen, a senior from New Prague, Minn., opened three-over through the first five holes before settling in with pars on seven of her next eight holes. She closed her round at seven-over-par with a 79 to sit in a tie for 28th.
The clutch rounds from Stelzmiller and Smejkal allowed the Huskers to overcome an 82 out of the top spot in their lineup from sophomore Cassie Deeg. Her round was just her second over 79 in her last 20 competitive rounds this season. The Hugo, Minn., native enter's Saturday's second round tied for 56th.
Freshman Jordan Chael added an 87 while playing out of the No. 4 spot in the Husker lineup. She is tied for 64th.
The Huskers will compete in the second round of the Big Ten Championships on Saturday, starting at 8 a.m. (CT). Live scoring of the tournament is available at www.golfstat.com.
2014 Big Ten Championships
Pete Dye Course/French Lick Resort
French Lick, Ind.
Par 72, 6,017 Yards
April 25-27, 2014
Team Standings (First Round)
1. Ohio State - 301
2. Nebraska - 302
3. Michigan State - 305
4. Penn State - 306
5. Northwestern - 307
6. Minnesota - 309
7. Iowa - 314
8. Purdue - 315
T9. Wisconsin - 316
T9. Illinois - 316
11. Michigan - 317
12. Indiana - 322
Individual Standings (First Round)
1. Cassidy Stelzmiller, Nebraska - 72 (E)
2. Jessica Porvasnik, Ohio State - 73 (+1)
T3. Zoe-Beth Brake, Ohio State - 74 (+2)
T3. Allyssa Ferrell, Michigan State - 74 (+2)
T5. Morgan Smejkal, Nebraska - 75 (+3)
T5. Katlyn Elliott, Penn State - 75 (+3)
T5. Hana Lee, Northwestern - 75 (+3)
T5. Katja Pogacar, Ohio State - 75 (+3)
T5. Suchaya Tangkamolprasert, Northwestern - 75 (+3)
T5. Sarinee Thitiratanakorn, Minnesota - 75 (+3)
T5. Christina Vosters, Penn State - 75 (+3)
1. Cassidy Stelzmiller - 72 (E)
T5. Morgan Smejkal - 75 (+3)
T12. Katelyn Wright - 76 (+4)
T28. Steffi Neisen - 79 (+7)
T56. Cassie Deeg - 82 (+11)
T64. Jordan Chael - 87 (+15)