SOUTHPORT, N.C. – Leading into this weekend’s Colonial Athletic Association women’s golf championship, weather forecasts predicted significant rain for Friday’s first round. After a 90-minute rain delay in the morning, the clouds quickly disappeared and the skies remained empty throughout the afternoon. 

With the sun beating down on The Reserve Club at St. James, the Elon University women’s golf team finished the first round with an 18-over par score of 306. The Phoenix trails leader and defending champion College of Charleston by 11 shots. 

Junior Lotte Fox and senior Svarin Yuenyong paced Elon on Friday with 3-over par rounds of 75. The two are six shots behind Phu Knine of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, who shot the lowest round of the day with a 3-under par 69. 

Fox played a steady round, carding a team-high 13 pars and making a birdie on the par-3 13th hole. She made the turn at 3-over par but came home with an even-par back nine of 36. The junior said her putting was the culprit for her slow start. 

“I wasn’t making many putts. I was hitting a lot of greens but whenever I missed the green, that would result in a bogey,” Fox said. “I picked up some momentum on the back nine. I was hitting some good irons and I started making some putts. I made some good saves for par.”

As the course dried out throughout the day, the wind also picked up. Fox said the team did not face much wind during Thursday’s practice round and had to adjust.

Fox plays a high ball flight, which she said can make it difficult to play in the wind as shots with high apexes are more susceptible to ballooning in windy conditions. While she was pleased with her ball striking in the gusting winds, she said the conditions of the greens gave her trouble. 

“The conditions of the course were good,” Fox said. “The fairways were good. The greens were a little bit shaky because the grass was a little thin in some areas so the ball speeds up a little bit.” 

Yuenyong matched Fox’s round of 75 by birdieing the 18th hole. The senior also made birdie on the par-5 seventh when she stuffed a wedge into tap-in range. 

Senior Annabelle Ackroyd posted a 5-over par 77 and is just outside the top 15. Junior Apple Ngamwong and freshman Ashley Lafontaine are tied for 22nd and 26th, respectively. 

Elon, who has not finished better than fourth in the CAA championship since its first appearance in 2015, is just one shot behind fourth place Towson University and six shots behind the University of Delaware in third place. 

With the Phoenix still within striking distance of the lead, Fox said the team’s focus in Saturday’s second round will be patience.

“We want to keep our heads in the game and stay present,” Fox said. “We need to stay strong as a team.”

Elon’s tee times Saturday will begin at 9:20 a.m. on the first hole.