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Herbert Falls Back in Second Round of Championship

christina herbert hits an iron shot on day 2 of the NCAA championships

HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. - The El Campeon course at Mission Inn bared its teeth today, allowing only three players in a field of 130 at the NCAA Championship to post scores better than 75, and Bridgewater College senior Christina Herbert was among those who fell down the leaderboard.

Herbert, who started in the final pairing of the day on the 10th hole, uncharacteristically struggled with her short-game early in the round. After a long drive on her first hole she almost reached the par-5 in two shots, but her chip came up short, and a three-putt led to an opening bogey. A three-putt on the 13th hole, and two chips on the 15th hole led to two more bogeys, but most of the field was struggling around the greens and Herbert briefly moved up from her first-round position of sixth place to fourth place.

The defending national champion and three-time First-Team All American made the turn at three-over despite the short-game woes, but ran into more trouble starting on #2. On the long par-3, Herbert found the sand trap on the short-side of the green, and made double bogey. On #3 her approach was short-sided again, leading to another double. On the the 4th hole Herbert blocked her drive and was out of bound by two inches, leading to a third double-bogey in a row. Three-putts on the 6th and 7th holes added two more strokes.

Herbert, already having one of her most challenging collegiate rounds, was yet to experience the most frustrating hole of her career. The 8th hole, her seventeenth of the day, is a peninsula hole, with water on three sides and her 6-iron tee shot found the hazard to the right of the green. After taking relief at a drop-zone, her next shot was an over-correction that put her in the left sand trap with a buried lie and a green sloping back toward the water; she blasted beautifully, but the ball would not stop before going back into the hazard. Her relief was to drop back in the sand trap and her drop plugged for the second time. This time she left a shot in the bunker before barely getting onto the surface. She then made a difficult two-putt all the way across the severely sloped green for a sextuple-bogey, 9.

Without a birdie all day, Herbert hit a massive drive pin-high on the 285-yard finishing hole, pitched up to two-feet and made birdie for a final score of 89 (16 over par). The highest score of her career dropped the Eagle to a tie for 45th after two rounds.

"This was a heart-breaking day on the golf course," said head coach John Rogers. "It's one of those days you just wish you could hit the pause button and then rewind a few holes and start over. But let me tell you something about Christina Herbert- she is a champion through and through. Even if this day prevents her from claiming a second national title, she has achieved things that very few people have. And she gutted it out right to the end today, coming back with a birdie after the most bizarre and frustrating experience of her career (on the eighth hole). This young lady is one of the most exemplary people I know, both on and off the golf course, and I really wish this round was not a part of her final collegiate experience, but in my mind it does not diminish in the slightest way what a true champion she is."

For only the second year the NCAA Championship has a cut after the third round (Thursday), dropping the field from 25 to 15 teams and just the top-6 individuals who are not a part of the top-15 teams. According to current standings, Herbert is eighth among individuals.

In the team race, Claremont Mudd Scripps has opened a five-shot lead over Williams College. Margaret Loncki of Claremont has the individual lead at +6 for the tournament.

Play resumes at 7:30 a.m. Thursday with Herbert going off the 10th hole at 2:10 p.m.