By Cameron Jourdan Special to The Tuscaloosa News
STILLWATER, Okla. — Cheyenne Knight was going to take an unplayable lie, then Mic Potter stepped in.
Potter, the Alabama women’s golf coach, suggested Knight hit the ball into the fairway instead of losing a stroke. Knight had to back into the tree and smack the ball out with a sand wedge. Although she got scraped up, Knight salvaged a bogey. Potter said her creativity resulted in the shot of the tournament.
“To make a bogey there and not have to go back up and re-tee it was huge,” Potter said. “You need to minimize the damage when you make a mistake.”
Knight carded five birdies on the back nine, shooting a 2-under par 70 to move her into first place on the individual leaderboard. She is tied with Wake Forest’s Jennifer Kupcho at 7-under.
As a team, The Crimson Tide vaulted itself to an eight-shot advantage on UCLA after a 4-under par round. Alabama was one of two teams score in red numbers Sunday at Karsten Creek Golf Club, along with Baylor.
Since the women’s NCAA championships moved to a match play format in 2015, Alabama has yet to advance past the stroke play stage. That looks to change Monday.
“You’ve just got to get into match play,” Potter said. “It’s always good to be the No. 1 seed, and it’s always good for me to be able to sleep.”
Lauren Stevenson and Kristen Gillman each added 2-under par rounds. Stevenson is tied for fifth heading to Monday’s final stroke play round, and Gillman is tied for seventh.