Senior Marina Alex, the winner of the 2010 SEC Individual Championship, has put herself into position once again in 2012 after posting a two-under par, 70, in the first round of the SEC Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. Alex, in third place, trails co-leaders, Patricia Sanz of Auburn and Marta Silva Zamora of Georgia, by one stroke.
Alex carded five birdies, 10 pars, and three bogeys in her first time around the Blessings Golf Club, including three birdies on the front nine.
As a team, the Commodores are in 11th place after carding first-round, 318.
"We had a good front nine, but the back nine on this golf course is as tough as it gets. There is no room for error," said Vanderbilt head coach Greg Allen. "We had too many big numbers on the back. But, our mindset is pretty good. Rene and Ed felt like they hit really good shots today. Again, there's just no room for error. You get on the wrong side of these greens and you have a 40 feet downhill putt, and then a 15 footer for par on the way back. We know what we need to do, and if we can stay away from the big numbers, we'll be fine the rest of the way.
"But I was really impressed with Marina. She was great today in tough conditions."
Lauren Stratton's first-round 77 tied her for 16th place after the first round of competition. Vanderbilt also counted an 84 from Anna Leigh Keith and an 87 from Rene Sobolewski. Irina Gabasa carded a 91 in her first round.
Alabama leads the team standings with a 297, nine strokes better than Auburn, who is in second place with a 306.
The second round continues on Saturday from Fayetteville, Ark.