Vanderbilt standout Marina Alex won her first round match at the U.S. Amateur over Victoria Tanco of Bradenton, Fla., 2 & 1, Wednesday morning at the Charlotte Country Club.
Alex stormed from behind to capture the match, going ahead on the 13th hole and adding an exclamation point to her round with a birdie-2 on number 18. Alex was two down after seven holes, but evened the match before the turn. Tanko took the 11th hole to move to 1-up, but the Wayne, N.J. native birdied the par-5 12th hole, and then took the lead for good with a birdie on the par 4-13th.
Alex will take on the number one seed, Rachel Rohanna of Waynesburg, Pa., who won her first round match, 1-up, over 64-seed Isabel Han. Her tee time with Rohanna will be 7:30 a.m. EST. If Alex wins, she will play in the round of 16 later in the afternoon.
-Alex posted three birdies in a row on holes 12, 13, and 14, parred 15, 16, and then birdied 17 to win the match. During the two days of stroke play, she was six over-par combined on the same stretch of holes.
-Alex posted a double bogey and a bogey in her round today.
-Vanderbilt head coach Greg Allen is still looping for Alex. Let's all hope his feet hold up for the rest of the tournament, especially with a 36-hole day on the horizon for Thursday.
-Tanco was mentioned in the last issue of Sports Illustrated as a future star in the sport of women's golf in their "Where Will They Be?" section.
"Huge boost on six with a five-foot bogey putt...It really got her going. Although she lost the hole, it gave her some confidence."
"She knocked a six iron within two and a half feet on 12. She made her birdie putt on 12."
"It was a huge win for her today...gives her some confidence heading into Thursday."
"She's got to get off to a good start...first nine holes are more leisurely, and it will be important since she tees off on number one Thursday"
"Started off a little on the slower side, we both didn't really hit it off that well to get it started. I struggled to find a rhythm, but I hit a good iron shot on eight, and it got my confidence going. I was just trying to be as patient as possible, because I knew there were some birdies out there. I started striking it pretty well."
"I got a little bit lucky on 13 for my birdie putt, and I really got momentum going from there."
"I was just happy to put my ball-striking game together. The putter was good."
On Coach Allen on the bag
"It's good. It's the same as college...except that he's on the bag and that he's with me for all 18 holes. He'll confirm my reads, but he said he was not going to second-guess my putts. He's been really positive the all time."
Are you tired?...you've played a lot of golf in a short amount of time.
"Not tired. I'm a little leery that I have to tee off so early. I'm not really a morning person. However, if I won, the benefits would be that I would have a little time before my second match."
On her second-round match with Rachel Rohanna
"I played with her in the practice round this week...I'm confident and ready to go."