Johnson First, Islanders Fifth Through Opening 36 Holes at UALR Classic

HOT SPRINGS VILLAGE, Ark. ­– Junior Vanessa Johnson shot a 1-over 145 (74-71) to hold the individual lead through the first two rounds of the UALR Women's Golf Classic today. The Islanders (313-309—622) are just five strokes back of the team lead.

"Today was one of the best days we've had as a team all season," head coach Carol Blackmar said. "We had three rounds out of four in the 70s both rounds, which was a good accomplishment. It's exciting to be in the hunt heading into the last round, and I know our players are looking forward to making a push for the title.

"Vanessa played very consistent today," Blackmar said. "She was very focused and had a good mental approach today. If she brings her 'A' game to the course tomorrow, she'll have a strong chance of bringing home an individual title as well."

Johnson was the only golfer to shoot par or better in either of the first two rounds at Diamante Country Club, with her 1-under 71 in the afternoon propelling her into the lead. The Corpus Christi native, who was in second place after the opening round, is in search of the second medalist honors of her career. She garnered her first title at the Harold Funston Open in the fall of 2012.

Senior Lindsay Biehler sits in a tie for 11th through the first 36 holes after shooting a 154 (76-78). Krista Fenniak (79-81) delivered a 160 on day one of the event, while Ana Paredes had a solid bounce back in the afternoon, shooting a 79 after a morning 84. Claudia Galindo (87-85) posted a 172 through 36 holes of action.

Damp, cool conditions kept scores higher than normal in Hot Springs, with Wichita State (310-307) and Middle Tennessee State (306-311) tied for the overall lead at 617. Georgia State (308-310) sits one stroke behind in third place, while Southland foe Oral Roberts (313-306) is in fourth at 619. In fifth, the Islanders are four shots ahead of sixth-place Missouri State (320-306).

Johnson is five strokes ahead of Central Arkansas' Sarah Brown (77-73—150) and South Alabama's Elisa Axelsen (73-77—150). ORU's Alheli Moreno (77-74), MTSU's Avery George (75-76) and UTEP's Camino Sardinero (78-73) are in a three-way tie for fourth at 151.

The Islanders will be paired with the Golden Eagles and Missouri State in the third and final round, slated to tee off at 8:30 a.m. A&M-Corpus Christi will start on holes 4-6 for the final 18 holes of action.

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