UTC’s Zalewska Surges on NCAA Day 2

The Chattanooga Mocs duo of Dorota Zalewska and Esme Hamilton continued their NCAA Tournament play Tuesday with Zalewska making a move. The duo head into Wednesday’s final rounds with a better idea of what it takes to advance.

Zalewska surged 25 places on the Franklin leaderboard Tuesday with a 2-under 70. That tally tied the school record for a postseason round set first by Ladies European Tour pro and 2-time Olympian Christine Wolf in 2010 and matched by Jordan Britt in 2012. It was an impressive display.

She posted three birdies, 14 pars and a bogey on No. 18, the par 5 finishing hole. It was a consistent day. Fairways, greens and on to the next. What was different from the opening 18 to the second for the six-stroke improvement?

“I played the same golf as yesterday,” Zalewska said matter-of-factly. “There’s nothing I did differently, but my irons were more solid, and I controlled my ball-striking (better). My driver was much better hitting all the fairways with it except the last. I felt more comfortable putting, but they still didn’t fall. On my three birdies, two were tap-ins and the other from about six feet.

“It’s a good sign for tomorrow. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

The top two individual spots from current non-advancing teams belong to the leader, Jennie Park from Texas A&M with 135 and Augusta’s Natalia Yoko at 140 in a tie for third. That puts Zalewska’s 2-over 146 six back with so much golf to play and drama to unfold for teams and student-athletes.

It was a tougher day out west for Hamilton. Twelve pars and six bogeys led to a 78. It can be forgiven considering her travel and lack of preparation due to late inclusion in the field. The new graduate from Nottingham, England wouldn’t have it.

“I didn’t have my best game today,” she shared. “But I feel like it’s not far off. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and ending with a strong finish.”

Her 2-day total is 154. The Albuquerque Regionals current low non-advancing individuals are Florida’s Marina Escobar Domingo (140) and a tie between New Mexico’s Mapat Lertsadwattana and Sam Houston’s Jennifer Herbst (143).

That regional is paced by Oregon for the second straight day with another 284 giving the Ducks a 568 total. Georgia (576), Texas (577) and TCU (583) complete the top 4. Florida is just one shot behind the Horned Frogs in fifth.

Franklin is led by host Vanderbilt (569) which jumped second-place Alabama (574) and third-place Duke (578) which were tied for the lead after 18 holes. Wake Forest is one behind the Blue Devils at 579. Texas A&M is closest to the cutline with 584.