LOUISVILLE -- Barry's women's golf team opened its decade-long absence from the NCAA Division II National Championships with a 329 first round score at Persimmon Ridge Golf Course.
The Buccaneers trail leader Nova Southeastern by 21 strokes, and sit fourth in the team standings.
Junior Taylor Babcock and freshman Nancy Vergara each shot 8-over -- Babcock birdieing a couple par fours -- to find themselves tied for 16th after the first of four days in the tournament.
Nova shot 308, bolstered by its top two players Abbey Gittings and Daniela Ortiz, who occupy the top of the leaderboard after shooting 72 and 73, respectively. Florida Southern is second at 314 and Central Oklahoma third at 322. Grand Canyon sits a stroke behind Barry.
Vergara birdied the par-4 seventh, and had a stretch of five straight holes on the back nine of level golf on a 6,283-yard course with high-elevation tees, tall grass in the roughest of areas, chocolate muddy waters and deer that prance through the course. Yes, three deer danced their way through the course as the last two threesomes were preparing to tee off.
Francesca Perini, who got off to a great start with a birdie on the par-4 first, finished with an 84. Daniela Murray shot 85 and Paola Grande 87.
Florida Southern's Melanie Audette is third after shooting 2-over 74, and UNC-Pembroke's Megan Moore shot 75 to step into fourth ahead of a three-way logjam for fifth, the trio entering the clubhouse a stroke back.
Twenty-three golfers are within eight strokes of the lead on an unforgiving course full of undulations and its share of hills in the outer reaches of the mountains.