BARRINGTON, R.I. - LSU’s Austin Ernst showed the determination that earned her an NCAA Women’s Golf Championship as she captured her first match Wednesday in the United States Women’s Amateur at the Rhode Island Country Club.
Ernst, after an approach shot to within six feet of the 18th hole in an all-square match, completed a comeback from two down to win over Scotland’s Sally Watson 1 up after a par putt was conceded on the final hole.
Watson hit her approach into a sand trap to the right of the green and pushed her shot out of the bunker about 30 feet past the hole.
Watson’s par putt failed to drop and Ernst had two putts from six feet to win.
The win advances Ernst into the round of 32 against Michelle Piyapattra of Corona, Calif., who was a 3 and 2 winner in her opening round. Piyapattra is a sophomore-to-be at Columbia University, where she won the Ivy League Championship last season and was named first team All-Ivy League.
Piyapattra previously participated in the U.S. Women’s Amateur when she was 14.
Ernst, of Seneca, S.C., who will be a sophomore at LSU this fall, is making her first tournament appearance since winning the NCAA individual title in May in Bryan, Texas.
Ernst jumped out quickly with a birdie on the opening hole.
But by the sixth hole, she was down two holes after Watson made birdies on the fifth and sixth holes, and took advantage of a bogey by Ernst. Watson bogeyed on No. 8 to cut her lead to 1 up. Ernst then tied the match with a par on the 193-yard par-3 No. 10.
Ernst birdied the par-5, 5-22 yard No. 11 to go 1 up, but Watson birdied No. 16 to even the match again.
Two rounds are scheduled Thurday: the round of 32 and the round of 16. The round of 16 will be televised by The Golf Channel beginning at 2 p.m.
Live scoring for the Amateur can be found online at http://www.usga.org.
BIG EAST/SEC CHALLENGE TIMES ANNOUNCED: ESPN announced the game time and television network for the 12 games in the inaugural Big East/SEC Challenge, a three-day men’s basketball event that matches 12 teams from each of the conferences.
The games are set for Dec. 1-3 with coverage on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3.com. All 12 games will be played home sites, with each conference hosting six games.
LSU will play at Rutgers at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3. It will be the 11th of the 12-game series.
Big East/SEC Challenge
Thursday, Dec. 1
Providence at South Carolina
St. John’s at Kentucky
Ole Miss at DePaul
Georgetown at Alabama
Friday, Dec. 2
Florida at Syracuse
Cincinnati at Georgia
Vanderbilt at Louisville
Auburn at Seton Hall
Saturday, Dec. 3
Arkansas at UConn
Pittsburgh at Tennessee
LSU at Rutgers
West Virginia at Mississippi State
SEVEN TIGERS NAMED SCHOLASTIC ALL-AMERICANS: Seven LSU gymnasts were honored as Scholastic All-Americans by the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women: Casey Duvall, Lainie Fleming, Janelle Garcia, Ashley Lee, Shelby Prunty, Staci Schwitkis and Sarah Zoldos.
It marks the first time since 2002 that at least seven Tigers received the honor.
Fleming and Zoldos led the way with 4.00 grade point averages in microbiology and biological sciences, respectively.
Duvall has a 3.69 GPA in biological sciences, Garcia has a 3.55 in communication disorders, Lee has a 3.67 in sport administration, Prunty has a 3.78 in sport administration, and Schwitkis has a 3.61 GPA in kinesiology.
The NACGC/W annually awards Scholastic All-America honors to student-athletes who finish the current academic school year with a 3.5 grade point average or higher.
KENDALL SELECTED BY U.S. TEAM FOR PAN AMERICAN GAMES: USA Swimming and the United States Olympic Committee selected LSU junior Amanda Kendall to represent her country in the 100-meter freestyle at the Pan America Games on Oct. 11-22 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Kendall’s selection was based on her seventh-place finish in 55.08 seconds at the U.S. Nationals in Palo Alto, Calif.