MUSCLE SHOALS — Hometown star Chloe Borders rallied on the back nine to shoot a 79 on the first day of the Ohio Valley Conference women’s golf tournament Monday.
Jacksonville State shot a 308 and is just one shot out of first place with two rounds to play. Murray State shot a 307 to grab the lead.
Six teams are within nine shots of each other atop the leaderboard. JSU leads Eastern Kentucky and Austin Peay by four shots and fifth-place Tennessee Tech by five. Morehead State is sixth but is only nine shots off the lead.
Borders, a sophomore who graduated from Jacksonville Christian, is tied for 16th in the individual standings. She played her final 10 holes at even par, thanks to a birdie on No. 17.
Juniors Valentina Giraldo and Paula Vega each shot a 76 on the par-72, 6,043-yard layout on the Schoolmaster Course at The Shoals on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. The duo is tied for seventh in the 45-player field, while the Gamecocks' trail leader Murray State by one shot.
Cold and windy conditions drove scores up in Monday's round, with leader Lucila Puente Rodriguez of Murray State the only player in the field to shoot even par. Only 20 players broke 80 in the first of the three-round event, but four members of JSU's five-player lineup were in that group.
Giraldo used a pair of birdies to rally in her opening round. She birdied the ninth and 18th holes to highlight the 4-over 76. Vega started strong and stepped on the 13th tee at just 1 over. A pair of late bogeys for her closed her round that featured 14 pars that tied for the second-most in the field.
Freshman Ana Perez Altuna also closed the first round in the top 10 with a 77 in her first OVC tournament round. She birdied two of her first four holes to set the tone for the round.
Freshman Valentina Curet rounded out the JSU lineup with an 80 and is tied for 21st with 36 holes to play.
The Gamecocks will tee off beginning at 9:40 a.m. in Tuesday's second round and will be paired with Murray State and Eastern Kentucky for the second straight day.