ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Collectively speaking, the UNM women's golf team's first few holes on Friday were a banana slice into a cactus patch.
By the time the Lobos got that figurative ball back on the fairway, it was clear someone else would be hoisting the 2010 Branch Law Firm/McGuire Invitational trophy when the tournament concludes today.
The Lobos shot a 36-hole score of 613, 29 over par, good for 10th place in the 17-team field. They trail leader Ohio State by 26 shots. The tournament concludes with 18 holes today at the UNM Championship Course, starting at 8 a.m.
Rebecca Hellbom, a junior from Sweden, rallied from a horrid start to lead the Lobos with a 2-over-par 148, good for 12th place in the individual standings. Her fellow Scandinavian Therese Koelbaek, a UNLV senior All-American from Denmark, leads at 6-under 140.
The Lobos, playing on their home course, started the day as if they'd never seen the UNM Championship track. They finished Friday's first round in 12th place, 22 over par.
The problem wasn't drives into the rough, UNM coach Jill Trujillo said, as much as putts that dodged the cup.
"We practice on these greens day in and day out," she said, "but in the first round nothing was dropping for anybody. Lots of three-putts, and it was definitely a putting contest today.
"I think it was a little bit of nerves. For a lot of the girls, it was their first home event."
The Lobos put themselves out of the contest in a hurry. Hellbom, UNM's No. 1 player, started on hole No. 4. After a bogey on No. 10, she was 5 over for the round. Hellbom rallied to shoot 4-over 77, then fired a 2-under 71 in the afternoon.
"I wasn't really in the right state of mind (in the morning), I think," Hellbom said. "Then my putts started to fall, and I had a lot of birdies during the front of the back 18. So, that was probably the difference."
Freshman Sammi Stevens, starting on No. 5, bogeyed 5 and 6. Stevens regrouped to finish with the Lobos' best round of the morning: a 3-over 76. She was the only Lobo to shoot a higher score in the afternoon, though, with a 78.
Lobos Sarah Salvo, Bethany Buchner and Manon DeRoey shot 80, 81 and 82, respectively, in the morning. Buchner bogeyed four of her first five holes. Salvo, starting on No. 5, bogeyed six and seven.
In the second round, Buchner shot 75, Salvo 76 and DeRoey 77.
"We calmed down a little bit," Trujillo said of the afternoon round, "but it still was not to our potential. It was quite a blow to our right and left knee in the first round; it was absolutely terrible.
"But we rallied back a little bit and we still have (today), so we can make some moves. Rebecca played an awesome second round, and Beth brought it back a little bit. So, it was pretty good."