ATHENS, Ga. -- The No. 2 Alabama women's golf team shot a 4-under-par round of 284 in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Championships Wednesday on the par-72, 6,372-yard University of Georgia Golf Course.
The Crimson Tide is in second place, 12 shots off the lead of No. 1 Southern California, who caught fire on Wednesday with a NCAA-record 12-under-par 276 (-16, 560). Alabama is in the clubhouse at 4-under 572 with Duke in third at 1-under 575. Purdue and Stanford round out the top five at 2-over-par 578. Six teams will be forced to play their final 2-3 holes on Thursday morning before the start of the third round.
"We played a lot better today than we did yesterday," Alabama head coach Mic Potter said. "I don't know why, but maybe the hole locations were a bit better today and a little more accessible. We made some birdies on (No.) 4, but (No.) 3 still hurts us. We have to hit better shots on No. 3 if we're going to be any kind of a factor in this tournament."
Stephanie Meadow has the 36-hole individual lead in the clubhouse with an 8-under-par 136 after a 5-under 67 on Wednesday. She is one-stroke better than Southern California's Annie Park, who also shot 67 in round two. Park and Meadow entered the tournament ranked as the No. 1 and No. 2 golfers nationally.
Meadow, a junior from Jordanstown, Northern Ireland, posted a bogey-free round to lead the Crimson Tide. Starting her day on the back nine, she made four birdies by the turn, including two straight on the 17th and 18th holes. She then carded a three on the par-4 first hole (her 10th) for a string of three straight birdies. Meadow made eight straight pars to close her round.
"Today was really solid for me," Meadow said. "I was 5-under through 10 (holes), and even though I didn't make much on the back nine, it was all around a really good day. The course played pretty similarly again today, but the heat is just the biggest difference. It's a lot easier to stay hydrated and not be as tired today, and I definitely feel better in today's round than I did yesterday."
Meadow lowered her season scoring average to 71.90, which is the lowest total in school history, bettering her own school record of 72.15 set in 2011 (1.25 strokes per round lower). She is a combined 25-strokes-under par this season. No Alabama player has ever shot under par for the season in the history of the program.
Freshman Emma Talley fired an under-par round of her own at 1-under 71 and is tied for 10th heading into play on Thursday. The true freshman from Princeton, Ky., got off to another slow start with back-to-back bogeys on the 11th and 12th holes only to close her opening nine with three straight birdies on the 16th, 17th and 18th to make the turn at 1-under. A bogey on the first and third holes was offset by birdies on the fourth and seventh.
Alabama's Emma Talley shot a 1-under 71 Wednesday putting her at 2-under for the week. (Alabama Athletics Photo)
"Today was about the same as yesterday in that it started off rough, but I came back so that was a plus," Talley said following the round. "I just need to play shot-by-shot and try to do the best that I can do."
Junior Hanna Collier also carded a 1-under-par 71 and is tied for 45th at 4-over 148. The junior from Birmingham, Ala., struck the ball flawlessly on Wednesday only to see her putter fail, missing on numerous birdie chances inside 10 feet. Collier did close with an impressive birdie on the difficult ninth hole. She made four birdies and three bogeys on her round.
Senior Jennifer Kirby and sophomore Daniela Lendl both carded 3-over 75s for Alabama's final counting score. Kirby is 4-over 148 and tied for 54th after 36 holes while Lendl is 6-over 150 and tied for 70th.
"I think I feel pretty good at this point," Potter said. "What Southern Cal shot today, we're capable of doing, but it's just a matter of coming out here and being a little more aggressive. We've got to let it go and free things up. We've got to make some putts. We're only converting those short five, six, or seven-footers, and we're not making many putts, so we've got to get a little break here and there somewhere to get back in the ballgame. We've shot 10-under here before, so we're fully capable of putting a low round up there."
Alabama will play with Southern California and Duke for the third straight round on Thursday when the leaders tee off for their third round in the early afternoon. Times for Thursday have not been set as plans are put in place to finish the second round tomorrow morning.
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