WACO -- Texas A&M senior Christa Spedding fired an even-par 72 on Monday as the 14th-ranked Aggies took an eight-stroke lead after the opening round of the Big 12 Women's Golf Championship at Ridgewood Country Club.
A&M began its title defense with a 12-over 300 while No. 11 Oklahoma State, host Baylor and Colorado are tied for second at 308.
"If someone had told me we'd be eight shots up at the end of the day, we would have been very pleased," A&M Coach Jeanne Sutherland said. "It was a very good day for us."
The tournament continues through Wednesday. The Aggies begin second-round play at 9 a.m. on Tuesday and are paired with Oklahoma State and Baylor.
Spedding is in second place in the individual standings, one shot behind
Kansas' Amanda Costner, who was the only player in the field to break par with a one-under 71. Defending champion Ashley Knoll of A&M is tied for third after a 74.
The Aggies started quickly and never trailed in the first round, making the turn at two-under. Conditions deteriorated on the back nine, with strong winds leading to higher scores. The Aggies were 14-over on the back side.
"On the front nine, we could have played with anyone in the country,"
Sutherland said. "But the conditions got tougher on the back and we lost our focus a little. The fact that our two seniors were focused all way to the end was significant. Christa looked great out there and played really solid golf. Ashley Knoll hit the ball better than she has all semester and is right there with the leaders."
A&M freshman Ashley Freeman and sophomore Lauren Johnson are tied for 15th after carding 77s. Freshman Danielle McVeigh is tied for 22nd after a 78. McVeigh had a team-high five birdies, but also had seven bogeys and a pair of double bogeys.
Kansas State is tied for fifth (309), followed by Texas Tech (310), Kansas (312), Nebraska (312), Oklahoma (315), Missouri (316), Texas (320) and Iowa State (322).