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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.  (March 8, 2018) – Even though Daytona Beach is unseasonable cold for March, North Carolina A&T’s second-year women’s golf program continued its scorching ways Thursday afternoon at the Lady Wildcat Invitational hosted by Bethune-Cookman University at the par-72, 6,124-yard LPGA International Golf Course.

The Aggies finished Day 1 in first place with a 31-over, 319 to finish four strokes ahead of host B-CU. Senior Sofia Alvarez leads the tournament after firing off a 5-over 77 to finish a stroke ahead of B-CU’s Mackenzie Butzer. Alvarez’s teammates, junior Bo Young Park and senior Jill Harvison are tied for third after shooting opening-round 79’s. Freshman Madison Harriman was the fourth score the Aggies counted on Thursday. She is tied for 14th at 12-over.

“I’m proud of the way the ladies played today,” said N.C. A&T coach Richard Watkins. “It isn’t exactly warm down here and the wind has been hard to navigate. We figured out a lot of things today and there were some things we didn’t figure out. That tells me we have improved a lot. It also tells me we have a lot room to grow.”

Play will continue Friday as the Aggies look to win their third tournament of the season. Already this semester, the Aggies have finished in second place twice with legitimate chances to win both. They led after the first day of the Lonnie Barton Invitational in Daytona Beach and they were in the finals of the Oyster Shuck Match Play event in South Carolina.

On Thursday, Alvarez first-place finish on Da 1 came after she recovered from a double bogey at the par-5 second. She went on to birdie the par-4 sixth to finish 2-over on the first nine holes. She opened her second nine with a double bogey on the par-4 10th but recovered to birdie 12. Park started hot on the first nine. She bogeyed three holes and birdied the par-5 eighth to finish 2-over at the turn. She had a tougher time on the back nine, recording four bogeys and a double bogey. She did par the final three holes to stay in contention for the tournament title.

Harvison had perhaps her best outing of the season. She birdied one hole, the par-4 11th, but remained consistent throughout as she pared 10 times on Day 1. She took a stroke off her score on the back nine. That coupled with Harriman taking two strokes off her first nine score to card a 5-over 36, helped the Aggies keep the Wildcats from the first-round lead.  

Both of Watkins’ freshman, Harriman and Jocelyn Andrews shot 7-over on the first nine.

“If we can stay consistent and play well despite the elements, I like our chances,” said Watkins.